July 3, 2011

Podcast: Nebraska ethanol plants produce more than 2 million tons of feed

In this podcast, Dan Wesely, a farmer from Morse Bluff and member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, notes that with a production capacity of nearly 2 billion gallons a year, Nebraska is the country’s second-largest producer of ethanol.

"Yet we must remember that the 24 active ethanol plants across the state produce more than ethanol. They also produce distillers grains, a great feed for livestock," he said.

Ethanol plants only use the starch portion of the kernel. All the other components, like fat, fiber and protein, are left over — and that makes a nutritious livestock feed for cattle, hogs and poultry. That means ethanol plants produce fuel and feed, and the amount of feed produced by ethanol plants is pretty amazing.

Here in Nebraska, ethanol plants produce about 2.4 million tons of feed. Nationally, we’re looking at 39 million tons of feed for the 2010-2011 marketing year. "If you look at it by volume, distillers grains production is greater than the total amount of grain consumed by all of the beef cattle in the nation’s feedlots," Wesely said.

The Renewable Fuels Association said 39 million tons of livestock feed would be enough feed to produce 50 billion quarter-pound hamburgers. That’s 7 patties for each person on the planet. Or, it’s enough livestock feed to produce one chicken breast for every American every day for a year.

Too often, discussions of the ethanol industry’s impact on grain use forget to recognize the fact that the ethanol process results in renewable fuel and a great feed. It’s the best two for one going today.

Nebraska Corn Kernel podcasts are also available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

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