Earlier this month, corn growers and the pork industry representatives meet in Des Moines, Iowa, to discuss ethanol impacts and its byproducts such as distillers' grains. The seminar,  “Distillers Grains: Implications for the U.S. Pork Industry,” was presented by three pork-industry groups, the National Corn Growers Association and other related agricultural groups.

“The meeting's real mission was to explore the research needed to help the pork industry move forward with distillers grains,” said Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board.

Much of the session focused on research concerning distillers dried grains with solubles-- or DDGS-- in swine feed rations. There also were reports on the potential economic impacts of DDGS and ethanol production on feed prices.

Some speakers pointed out that corn yield improvements can help address much of the additional corn supply required to satisfy ethanol and livestock production, notes Hutchens. Others challenged the prospect and emphasized the long-term impact of rising feed costs on the pork industry and the eventual impact on consumers.

In the end, the meeting did open the doors to improved communication and forward thinking to understand and address the issues surrounding the new corn-to-ethanol movement. Much research needs to be done in terms of finding ways to better utilized corn/ethanol byproducts in swine rations. This may include the need to make some changes in ethanol processing and production.

Following the event, a panel of researchers and industry representatives met to discuss research priorities on the topic.

For now, you can get more information on DDGS, at NCGA’s “Distillers Grains Feeding Recommendations” manual (PDF file).