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Chicken and DDGS

  • Friday, 23 September 2016 13:54

To commemorate National Chicken Month this September, let’s take a look at the relationship between dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) and chicken nutrition.

To recap, DDGS are a high-protein animal feed that is a co-product of ethanol production. Each bushel of Minnesota corn used for ethanol produces 2.8 gallons of ethanol and 18 lbs of DDGS in addition to other co-products such as corn oil. In 2015, Minnesota’s ethanol industry produced 3.6 million tons of DDGS.

Ethanol is produced from corn starch. By removing starch, the nutrients in a grain of corn are concentrated about three times in conventionally processed DDGS.

According to Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, DDGS contain 27 percent protein, compared to an average of 8 percent in a conventional grain of corn.

Thanks to its high-protein content, the USDA states that one ton of DDGS replaces 1.22 tons of traditional animal feed.

The World Poultry Magazine confirms that poultry fed with DDGS have better feed intake and a better feed conversion ratio as well as increased overall body weight and increased pace of weight gain. DDGS also improve phosphorous bioavailability and reduce phosophorus excretion which prevents environmental pollution.

Furthermore, DDGS are found to improve meat and egg quality by enriching it with omega-6 fatty acids in human diets which are good for heart patients.

The US Grains Council states a maximum dietary inclusion level of 15 percent DDGS for broilers and layer hens while a recent University of Minnesota study clarified that 15 percent DDGS in grow/finish diets is possible and even up to 20 percent in some cases.

In addition to the economic and nutrition benefits there are also environmental ones, as noted above by the World Poultry Magazine.

The US Grains Council found that adding 20 percent DDGS reduced NH3 emissions in laying hen manure, showing that ammonia emissions were reduced by an average of 16.9 percent.

In fact, it said, adding even 10 percent of DDGS reduced the seven day cumulative manure NH3 emissions from 3.9g/kg to 1.9 g/kg all with no adverse effects on hens.

So three cheers to the beneficial partnership between DDGS and the poultry industry! Wishing you all a great National Chicken Month!