Ethanol is quickly becoming the fuel of choice in the United States as a safer, cleaner-burning alternative to the petroleum-based MTBE. As Texas looks at developing an ethanol market, ethanol boosters say, grain producers must recognize the importance of its valuable co-product — Distillers Dry Grains (DDG), which can be used as a protein supplement in livestock feed.

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Southwest Distillers Grains Conference, sponsored by NCGA's state affiliate Texas Corn Producers Board (TCPB) and National Grain Sorghum Producers, will be held Oct. 30-31 in Amarillo. The conference is intended to educate anyone interested in ethanol co-products fed to livestock, swine and poultry.

The two-day conference is designed to dispel myths concerning ethanol co-products and will instruct attendees on how\best to use this complementary ingredient in their livestock and poultry rations.

Sessions include nutrition reports, first-hand experiences, and future production and market trends of DDG.

Tracy Snider, NCGA Livestock Information and Programs manager, says animal nutritionists, feed consultants, commodity marketers, co-product merchandisers, feed yard, hog farm and poultry operation managers will benefit most from attending.

“Due to the number of cattle on feed in Texas, the growing dairy industry and prospective hog farms, there are accessible markets for corn distillers grains in Texas,” says TCPB director and NCGA Research and Business Development action team member Jimmy Wedel. “As Texas continues to look at prospective ethanol plants, the livestock population is playing an important role in determining potential profitability and grower value.”

Nearly 3.8 million tons of DDG are currently created in domestic dry grind ethanol production; farmer owned cooperatives represent 48 percent of that production. For every bushel of corn made into ethanol, 18 pounds of DDG are created and must maintain value to contribute to plant profitability.

“With the demand for ethanol set to triple by 2003, the question is where the co-products, such as distillers grains will go,” Snider concluded. “These workshops are meant to set the stage for those discussions and open up opportunities for better understanding the use of distillers grains.”

Twelve CEU's will be given for the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS). Attendees can register online at http://www.ncga.com/research/ddg/form.htm or by contacting Jennifer Mueller at 314-275-9915 ext. 118 or mueller@ncga.com. For more information about DDGS and the upcoming conference, visit the NCGA website at http://www.ncgs.com/research/ddg/index.htm or TCPB's website at www.texascorn.org.