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Ration Tips for Using Distillers Grains

Jerry Bertoldo, Dairy
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

Last Modified: June 25, 2013

The nutritionist may work for a feed company or as an independent consultant. The person is undoubtedly familiar with the particulars of dry distillers grains (DDGS) but might not recommend putting it into your ration. Poor results in the past from highly variable DDGS make some nutritionists take a "wait-and-see" strategy concerning local distillers.

Livestock farmers who don't use a nutritionist miss the luxury of having someone sort out the details that lead to a reasonable decision on whether or not to feed distillers. There are lots of calf raisers and back-yard beef operators who could feed the product, but they need some guidelines. That's the purpose of this article: to give some tips on feeding DDGS and offer you opportunities to save money and get good performance results.

Thumb rules for DDGS use
  • Limit DDGS to a maximum of 40% og diet dry matter (DM) in finishing steers, 20% in dairy heifers and 10% of dairy rations. These recommendations are based on DDGS being 12 to 14% fat. With lower fat DDGS, you can include more in dairy diets.
  • In growing or milking cattle you cannot replace all the cornmeal in a diet with DDGS unless you feed high levels of corn silage.
  • If DDGS represents a high percentage of the diet protein, you must use other protein sources with significant lysine content such as soybean, fish or blood meal.
  • If hay crop is the main forage source, particularly as dry hay, and distillers is maxed out, attention to rumen available nitrogen or degradable protein is important. You can add urea to the diet.
  • Including DDGS with a base of good corn silage and/or high quality hay or haylage will result in a ration high in energy. While this is a good formula for finishing steers, growing heifers will trend towards excessive body condition.
  • Calcium supplementation is essential in growing animals with high DDGS inclusions rates.
DDGS is usually worth the extra cost per DM ton verses the wet or "modified" product. It will show signs of spoilage four to five days post-manufacture in the summer and seven to 10 in cold weather.


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Upcoming Events

2019 Corn Silage Pre-Harvest Workshop - Penn Yan

September 17, 2019
10:00am to Noon
Penn Yan, NY

Corn silage harvest is drawing near. The way corn silage is harvested and stored is a single event that affects your operation for the entire next year. Are you prepared to set your operation up for success? 
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Ontario County Fun on the Farm

September 21, 2019
11:00 am- 4:00 pm
Seneca Castle, NY

Fun on the Farm works to educate non-farm public and our neighbors about agriculture around them. It is fun and educational.

Fun on the Farm attracts thousands of people and gives us the opportunity to communicate to the community the benefits of the agricultural production in Ontario County, the state, and the nation.

The event is free! There are many agricultural products that are available to be sampled. It is the perfect place to try that product you have seen in the store but didn't want to commit to purchasing.

Food is available to purchase for lunch. It is provided by a local service group.
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Bovine Reproduction and AI Training Course

September 24 - September 25, 2019
9:30am - 3:30pm
Shortsville, NY

**CLASS IS FULL**

This two-day AI workshop will be held on September 24 and 25. 

Topics covered will include:

• Reproductive Physiology
• Synchronization Protocols
• Heat Detection
• Artificial Insemination
• Proper Thawing of Semen
• Loading A.I. guns
• Practice Breeding Cows

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Announcements

Preventing Sexual Harassment on Farms

If you're wondering how to get your farm business in compliance with NYS Sexual Harassment Regulations, you've come to the right place.  The 2018 New York State budget included new regulations addressing sexual harassment in the workplace that became effective on October 9, 2018 for all New York employers, including agricultural employers. All employers are required to have a sexual harassment prevention policy and to provide annual, interactive sexual harassment prevention training for all employees.  Check out the resources developed by Cornell Ag Workforce Development, including step-by-step instructions and farm-friendly training videos.


RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions

June 29, 2019

RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions
for 2019 Crop Year

In response to delayed and prevented planting resulting from above average rainfall and wetness, the USDA Risk Management Agency has made a one-time change to the 2019 crop year prevented planting rules that effectively allows silage corn, if planted as a cover crop following local agricultural expert guidelines, to be acceptable as a post-prevented planting cover crop. Under this one-time rule change, producers are allowed to produce this crop while retaining their prevented planting payment. This change couples with previously announced one-time changes to the prevented planting rules - including expanded acceptable uses for post-prevented planting cover crops and a change in the cover crop haying and grazing start date rule - serve to help those struggling to meet their forage needs due to the weather.

Read the full article from the New York Crop Insurance Education Program.

The USDA-RMA states that "For crop insurance purposes, a cover crop is a crop generally recognized by agricultural experts as agronomically sound for the area for erosion control or other purposes related to conservation or soil improvement." PRO-DAIRY specialists Joe Lawrence and Karl Czymmek and Dr. Quirine Ketterings, Professor and Director of Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program have released a letter stating "Corn on Prevented Planting acres meets these objectives."


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