SEDALIA, Mo. — Livestock producers are concerned about rising feed prices, and many are looking for cheaper alternatives. Distiller’s grains are an excellent supplement ingredient and come in three forms: dry, modified, and wet, which refers to the amount of water in the distiller’s grains. Modified and wet are generally cheaper per ton, but producers must understand which product they are purchasing and how these different products impact rations and livestock performance.
I was recently running some grower rations based on a 2021 hay test and used distiller’s grains and corn to formulate my supplement. For illustrative purposes, I compared all three forms of distiller’s grains in my rations. My goal was to add 250 pounds of gain in 120 days, for an average daily gain (ADG) of 2.10 pounds per day.
Currently, modified distiller’s grains resulted in the cheapest feed cost per pound of gain at $0.44 per pound of gain, and dry distiller’s grains had the highest feed cost per pound of gain at $0.48 per pound of gain. Feeding rate was 6 pounds of modified distiller’s grains compared with 3 pounds of dry distiller’s grains. The amount of corn in these two rations was slightly different.
What happens if rations are not adjusted for differences in moisture between the three types of distiller’s grains? Assume the feeding rate of distiller’s grains stays the same based on 3 pounds of dry distiller’s grains per day on an as-fed basis.
Feeding 3 pounds of modified instead of dry distiller’s grains reduces ADG by 0.55 pounds, extends the feeding period by 35 days and increases total feed costs by 15%.
Feeding 3 pounds of wet instead of dry distiller’s grains reduces ADG by 0.76 pounds, extends the feeding period by 59 days and increases total feed costs by 63%.
If producers are looking to use modified or wet distiller’s grains, they must know the moisture of the product they are buying and how to make appropriate ration adjustments in order to keep performance and feed costs comparable to the dry product. The same is true for dry vs. wet corn gluten feed.
Modified and wet distiller’s grains have availability, transportation, storage, and shrink issues to consider that are not included in the above costs. Delivering feed to the feed bunk may also pose some challenges if producers aren’t used to feeding higher moisture products.
Having some higher moisture feeds in the ration isn’t a bad thing, but compare ration costs between different products and make appropriate adjustments to the feeding program to ensure performance is adequate.
If you have additional questions on using of any of the wet by-product feeds, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Pettis County Extension Center at 660-827-0591.
— University of Missouri Extension