Virtual Opportunities Increase Interest in International DDGS Purchases
Beef and dairy cattle, swine and poultry can all benefit from U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in their feed rations, but the feed ingredient can be hard to purchase and store in smaller quantities for small- to medium-sized producers in Central America. To address these logistical needs and discuss the advantages of DDGS, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), funded by the Illinois corn checkoff, teamed up with a U.S. exporter for a recent webinar series.
DDGS, a secondary product created in the production of ethanol, is an important livestock feed that adds value to ethanol production. Given the state of the ethanol industry in the U.S., increasing access and international demand for DDGS can help ethanol plants and corn farmers in Illinois.
The Council conducted weekly webinars from mid-August to early September for interested producers in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Each session included a nutritionist with experience formulating or investigating DDGS usage for each species. The presentation detailed the nutritional benefits of DDGS, recommended inclusion rates and other relevant technical considerations.
More than 260 attendees tuned in for the webinar series – 41 percent for the poultry sessions, 32 percent for dairy and beef cattle and 27 percent for swine. The exporter reported that inquiries for DDGS by invited customers increased after the event.
“The virtual setting was important for reaching a broader base of producers,” said Ana Ballesteros, USGC marketing director for Latin America. “According to reports and surveys after the event, the Council achieved its goal of increasing awareness and interest in DDGS.”
The United States exported 320,000 metric tons of DDGS to Central America in the 2018/2019 marketing year with more room to grow. To realize this potential, the Council will continue to provide technical information about DDGS and partnered with regional players who can meet the specific logistical needs of small- to medium-sized producers.
The Illinois corn checkoff’s mission is to strategically invest funds to grow demand, create new markets, and foster understanding of corn farmers and the corn industry.