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Turkeys and DDGS

  • Wednesday, 27 December 2017 12:38

Last month was National Turkey Month and in conjunction with that, we take a look at the benefits of DDGS diets for turkeys. 

Minnesota is presently the largest turkey producer in the United States and Minnesota’s turkey farmers raise approximately 46 million birds annually.

Meanwhile, DDGS, used as a high-protein animal feed, has been growing in popularity as an alternative to corn and soybean-based animal feed. In 2016, Minnesota produced 3.5 million tons of DDGS.

Dr. Sally Noll with the University of Minnesota, a leading turkey and DDGS researcher, reported that turkeys fed diets with 20 percent DDGS had better gain and similar feed efficiency as compared to turkeys fed the diets without DDGS.

Furthermore she said that DDGS were found to decrease diet cost per ton of feed and to decrease cost per unit of gain in grower hen turkeys. Cost savings from DDGS ranged from 2 to 4 cents per pound of gain during a 2014 trial.

 In a different feeding trial, she found that feed/gain ratios tended to increase with DDGS inclusion. And that corn derived DDGS can be an economic source of available phosphorus. In addition she wrote that the use of high levels of both animal byproduct and DDGS could replace a considerable quantity of soybean meal protein.

 The U.S. Grains Council states that up to 20 percent DDGS can be included in turkey tom grower or finisher diets. They also noted that when high protein levels are fed, diets containing 15 percent DDGS can improve growth performance. The Council also confirmed that feed conversion improved from 77 to 105 days of age as dietary DDGS level increased.

Additionally, a study by the University of Minnesota and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Zagazig University in Egypt concluded that turkeys fed the DDGS diet were significantly heavier than those fed the corn-soy diet at both the fifth and eight week of age. It was also once again confirmed that the average daily feed intake and feed/gain rates were improved in diets with DDGS.

Finally, the U.S. Grains Council notes that the high energy, mid-protein and high digestible phosphorus content in DDGS make it an attractive partial replacement for some of the more expensive and traditional energy (corn), protein (soybean) and phosphorus (mono-or dicalcium phosphate) used in animals feeds.