Specialists at Iowa State University’s Iowa Beef Center note that although most Iowa feedyards use ethanol co-products, particularly wet distillers’ grains, fewer cow-calf producers are capitalizing on the availability of these products. A primary reason is that feedyards are better able to feed WDG quickly, while cow-calf operators need to store the perishable feed. To address this challenge, researchers tested several strategies for storing and feeding wet ethanol co-products. They compared three storage systems.
1. Mixing condensed liquid solubles with fescue hay and storing in a bunker silo.
2. Bagging modified WDG at about 50 percent moisture.
3. Bagging WDG (80 percent moisture) after mixing with 20 percent hay.
Results indicated that the solubles and hay mixture was too dry for effective packing and oxygen exclusion, which resulted in spoilage and reduced performance.
The two bagging methods allowed storage for 60 to 200 days, depending on weather. For the bagged modified-WDG, total loss from transportation, storage and feeding from the time of purchase to the feedbunk amounted to 16.7 percent. Spoilage accounted for 5 percent of the total loss while shrink during storage accounted for 8 percent. The WDG mixed with hay had a shrink factor of 9 percent with 7.2 percent of the total shrink after bagging.