Lora Berg 1, Editor

December 8, 2011

2 Min Read
Studies Evaluate Manure Nutrients from Diets Containing DDGS


Canada’s Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) has funded several multi-year studies examining how the nutrients in distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) impact manure, according to Ethanol Producer magazine. The research indicates that increased phosphorous and nitrogen levels will require feedlots to spread the manure over greater land base to avoid negatively impacting soil quality.

Studies were carried out by researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario, the University of Saskatchewan and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge Research Center in Alberta.

Diets containing varying amounts of DDGS derived from corn and wheat were fed to feeder steers or heifers weighing 925 to 1050 lb., during a three-week periods. The nutrient content of the manure, specifically nitrogen and phosphorous, was compared to a control group after each feed rotation period. Because there is no starch in distiller's grains, researchers were not surprised to find that the nitrogen and phosphorous contents in manure resulting from DDGS diets were higher. However, they also found that as the amount of DDGS is increased in cattle diets, there is a point at which the animal does not absorb any more of the nutrient, thus even greater amounts are excreted. Distiller’s grains are less digestible than feedgrain so the amount of manure produced is greater than corn. More concentrated manure means a larger land base is required to spread the manure, he says.

The amount of phosphorous and nitrogen that can be applied to land varies by province in Canada, so some feedlots may face stricter regulations than others. And, the nitrogen-to-phosphorous ratio is less than optimal in manure, which could lead to a build-up of phosphorous in the soil if manure is applied to meet a crop’s nitrogen needs, Bergen adds.

Depending on how far a feedlot has to haul the manure, feedlots could reach a point at which the price they are willing to pay for DDGS is impacted, according to Bergen. Regional regulations and enforcement will likely play a role in determining the land base requirements. Ongoing studies are being conducted to further test nutrient content of DDGS-derived manure, comparing fresh to composted manure and evaluating its performance on various soil types. Read more about the research at http://www.ethanolproducer.com/articles/8369/studies-evaluate-impact-of-nutrients-in-ddgs-manure.

About the Author(s)

Lora Berg 1

Editor, National Hog Farmer

Lora is the editor of National Hog Farmer. She joined the National Hog Farmer editorial team in 1993, served as associate editor, managing editor, contributing editor, and digital editor before being named to the editor position in 2013. She has written and produced electronic newsletters for Farm Industry News, Hay & Forage Grower and BEEF magazines. She was also the founding editor of the Nutrient Management e-newsletter.

Lora grew up on a purebred Berkshire operation in southeastern South Dakota and promoted pork both as the state’s Pork Industry Queen and as an intern with the South Dakota Pork Producers Council. Lora earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from South Dakota State University in agricultural journalism and mass communications. She has served as communications specialist for the National Live Stock and Meat Board and as director of communications for the University of Minnesota College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences. During her career, Lora earned the Story of the Year award from the American Agricultural Editors’ Association and bronze award at the national level in the American Society of Business Publication Editors’ competition. She is passionate about providing information to support National Hog Farmer's pork producer readers through 29 electronic newsletter issues per month, the monthly magazine and nationalhogfarmer.com website.

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