An OhioStateUniversity computer software program, developed to aid livestock producers in making more informed commodity feed purchases, can now be used to calculate the nutritional and economic worth of distillers grains.

SESAME, a Windows-based program created by Ohio State animal scientists, estimates the breakeven prices of up to 140 types of feedstuffs based on their nutrient content -- metabolizable energy (ME), rumen degradable protein (RDP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and more-- according to current market prices.

As ethanol production increases, so do its byproducts, such as distillers dried grains with solubles, as well as the interest from producers in using those byproducts. Using SESAME is an efficient, accurate approach to determining the value of various types of distillers grains, says software developer Normand St-Pierre, an Ohio State Extension dairy specialist.

“There are several different types of distillers grains producers can choose from, all created based on the ethanol production process and the equipment used, and they all have different nutritional characteristics,” says St-Pierre. “Animals do not require specific feeds, they require nutrients. The SESAME software determines the nutritional values of those distillers grains quite effectively, and compares them to the other commodities available in a given feed market.”

There are at least 10 different types of distillers grains available to producers in the Midwest, including dry distillers grains, wet distillers grains, partially de-watered (modified) distillers grains, distillers grains from de-germed corn to reduce the fat content of the distillers, or a combination of one or more types. SESAME lets producers pick the right distillers grains for their livestock.

“An example of a dilemma producers face in making the right feed choices is the misconception that removing fat from distillers grains creates a greater value for ruminants. It’s true that it allows you to feed more, but the value per ton is less because the fat content contributes a significant amount of dietary energy to the distillers grains,” says St-Pierre. “The software's purpose is to offer producers buying opportunities and reduced feed costs.”

St-Pierre said that as alternative feedstuffs become more available and popular, SESAME becomes an invaluable tool in choosing the proper distillers grains to feed.

“Ethanol production may increase grain costs, but with that comes increased opportunities to use the byproducts," says St-Pierre. "With a quarter of the nation’s corn crop going into ethanol production next year, the key to controlling feed costs will be to look at other alternatives.”

You can download the latest version of SESAME at Users can try the software for free for seven days, after which the cost to register the program is $99.95. There is a version for users in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as another version for other international users.

For more information about SESAME, go to the Web site, or contact St-Pierre at (614) 292-6507 or e-mail

Source: OhioStateUniversity