November 30, 2011

Corn Caucus Project releases presidential report card

The Corn Caucus Project today released its Presidential Report Card, a reference guide to presidential candidates' positions on on various agricultural policies. You can see the scorecard below, with overall grades ranging from a D+ to an A.

The project is put together by the Iowa Corn Growers Association in partnership with the National Corn Growers Association but is supported by the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and corn grower associations in Illinois, Kentucky and Minnesota.

The Corn Caucus Project is an initiative to help corn growers compare candidates on agricultural issues, said Kevin Ross a farmer from Minden, Iowa, and president of the Iowa Corn Growers. "We do not make any recommendations or endorsements, we just let the candidates speak for themselves," he said.

The Presidential Report Card provides information on the eight major candidates’ responses to questions on legislative priorities for corn. Topics on the survey included: ethanol, farm programs, Environmental Protection Agency regulations, trade and transportation.

Based on survey responses submitted by presidential candidates, media and official records, each candidate was scored and graded. If a candidate failed to complete the survey, the committee used published statements, official records or information from the candidate’s website to complete the voter guide.

The results by area and overall scores are shown below, but you can learn more by clicking here.  

November 29, 2011

Editorial: Corn sugar is better label

An editorial in the Lincoln Journal Star published on Thanksgiving argues for changing the name of "high fructose corn syrup" to "corn sugar."

The editorial makes some great points about the corn-based sweetener and calls on the Food & Drug Administration to approve the change. Be sure to check it out.

Here are a few lines from the editorial:
Currently some consumers seem to think they can benefit their health by switching from products that contain high-fructose corn syrup to those labeled as containing sugar.

That's not what reliable experts say.

The American Dietetic Association says, "Both sweeteners contain the same number of calories and consist of equal parts of fructose and glucose. Once absorbed into the bloodstream, the two sweeteners are indistinguishable."

Dr. Arthur Frank of George Washington University says, "HFC is the chemical and nutritional equivalent of table sugar. The two substances have the same composition, and are metabolized identically."

Michael Jacobsen of the Center for Science in the Public Interest says, "to pretend that a product sweetened with sugar is healthier than high fructose corn syrup is totally misguided."

The name change to corn sugar is accurate, simple and clear. It will help stop consumers from fooling themselves into thinking there is an easier option than avoiding total calories.

The FDA has been receiving public comment for more than a year. There's no reason for the agency to delay longer. It should approve the name change.

Click here to read more at the Journal Star's website.

November 23, 2011

Atrazine provides benefits to farmers and consumers

Research findings shared recently show that U.S. consumers and society benefit from atrazine and other triazine herbicides by up to $4.8 billion per year. The benefits come from increased crop yields, decreased producer costs and reduced soil erosion.

In addition, the findings show that the U.S. economy benefits from atrazine and other triazine herbicides by as much as $22 billion over a five-year period.

You can find the research papers and a video of a news conference at

According to the authors, benefits to farmers and consumers from the triazine herbicides include increased corn, sorghum and sugar cane crop yields, lower weed-control costs, significantly reduced soil erosion and less carbon released into the atmosphere.

Atrazine has played an important role in U.S. agriculture for more than 50 years, serving as the foundation of corn, sorghum and sugar cane weed-control systems, according to Dr. David C. Bridges, who announced the findings.

“It’s hard to overestimate the importance of atrazine and the triazine herbicides to U.S. agriculture and global food supplies. They benefit food production, the environment and the economy – and that means jobs,” Bridges said. “Some say there are ready replacements. In fact, there is no substitute for atrazine.”

The studies’ key findings include:
  • Over five years, the triazines provide between an $18 billion and $22 billion benefit to the U.S. economy.
  • Atrazine increases U.S. corn output by 600 million bushels per year.
  • The triazines prevent up to 85 million metric tons of soil erosion per year – enough to fill more than 3 million dump trucks.
  • Atrazine and the other triazine herbicides help reduce emissions by up to 280,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.
  • Growers are using atrazine to control new herbicide-resistant weeds.

The findings show atrazine increases U.S. corn production by about 7 additional bushels per acre, while U.S. sorghum farmers benefit by more than 13 additional bushels per acre. These benefits resonate throughout the entire supply chain, from farmers and food processors to retailers and consumers, Bridges said.

The studies detail the triazine herbicides’ environmental protection benefits. Triazines enable growers to use conservation tillage and other best-management practices, which contribute to a reduction in soil erosion in corn and sorghum.

USDA reports that U.S. cropland soil erosion declined by more than 40 percent between 1982 and 2007. Conservation tillage and related practices have contributed to this result. The triazine herbicides play an important role in such programs.

In addition, conservation tillage and no-till farming reduce agricultural diesel fuel use by more than 18 million gallons per year and annual carbon-dioxide emissions by more than 180,000 metric tons.

For more posts on atrazine, click here.

If you have questions about atrazine safety, check out Atrazine: What is the safety limit?.

November 22, 2011

Podcast: Nebraska Agribusiness Club recognizes Rod Gangwish, past president of NeCGA, NCGA

In this podcast, Lynn Chrisp, a farmer from Kenesaw and member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, talks about a former NeCGA and National Corn Growers Association president who was recognized recently by the Nebraska Agribusiness Club.

Rod Gangwish was one of two honorees given the Public Service to Agriculture Award. He's been involved in production agriculture for more than 35 years and grows corn, seed corn and soybeans near Shelton, Nebraska.

He has a degree in agronomy from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and was previously elected to the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement.

"Throughout his career, Rod developed a reputation for being an innovative farm operator with a passion for serving the industry, agricultural organizations and his community," Chrisp said. "I had the pleasure of serving on the Nebraska Corn Growers board with Rod, and I can assure you that he made many outstanding contributions."

One area Gangwish spent a lot of time working in was international trade and public policy. In fact, he worked extensively on developing policy for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the North American Free Trade Agreement. He also put in significant effort on the 1996 farm bill.

The other honoree was Larry Sitzman, who has a long history of working in Nebraska agriculture, including as director of agriculture in the 1990s and more currently as executive director of the Nebraska Pork Producers.

Chrisp said the Nebraska Corn Growers would like to thank both honorees but also thank everyone who has stepped up to take a leadership role in agriculture or their community.

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

November 17, 2011

Nebraska Corn Board member elected vice-chair of USMEF

Mark Jagels, a farmer from Davenport and member of the Nebraska Corn Board, was elected vice-chair of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) at the organization’s annual conference.

Jagels served as USMEF secretary/treasurer last year.

“I had a great experience over this past year as an officer for USMEF and am looking forward to continuing to serve,” Jagels said in a Corn Board news release.

“USMEF strives to open markets around the world and increase sales of U.S. pork and beef in those markets,” Jagels said. “Its work is important to the success of Nebraska beef and pork producers, as every pound of meat exported adds value to cattle and hogs. That, in turn, helps ensure good demand for Nebraska corn and distillers grains to be fed to those livestock.”

According to USMEF estimates, so far this year the export value of beef equates to more than $200 per head of each steer and heifer processed. For pork, the export value is $55 for each hog processed.

The USMEF officer team for 2011-12 (from left):
secretary/treasurer Leann Saunders, Castle Rock, Colo.;
chair-elect Steve Isaf, Atlanta, Ga.; vice-chair Mark Jagels,
Davenport, Neb., and chair Danita Rodibaugh, Rensselaer, Ind.
Jagels is a fourth generation farmer who lives on the home place that was originally homesteaded in 1885. He farms with his dad, raising corn and soybeans, feeding cattle and running a cow/calf operation. Before being elected an officer last year, Jagels served as a member of the USMEF executive committee representing feed grains, and has co-chaired USMEF’s Feed Grains & Oilseed Committee.

“Mark took his personal interest in expanding U.S. beef and pork exports and looked to be the Nebraska Corn Board’s representative with USMEF several years ago. He’s done an excellent job representing Nebraska producers and producers across the country,” said Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “A year ago, he became the first Nebraska Corn Board member to serve as an officer on USMEF’s board in 24 years, and we’re glad he has taken on a new role this year.”

The Nebraska Corn Board so strongly believes in USMEF’s mission that it has supported the organization with corn checkoff dollars since USMEF was founded in 1979.

“Nebraska farmers recognized early on the importance of meat exports to the success of the livestock industry and how that impacts the demand for feed corn and the feed ingredient distillers grains,” Jagels said. “When you consider that 95 percent of the world’s population lives outside the United States, and the fact that U.S. producers are so skilled in what they do, it makes sense to look to other countries and grow markets. It’s how we’ll be successful long-term.”

November 16, 2011

Nebraska Corn Board Sponsors Nine Scholarships/Fellowships

The Nebraska Corn Board awarded eight scholarships and one fellowship to students who are attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in an agricultural program of study. Each scholarship/fellowship recipient received a $1,000 scholarship for the 2011-2012 academic year. In order to be eligible for the scholarships, the recipients must hold a GPA of 2.5 or above and be majoring in Agribusiness, Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Education, Agronomy, or Animal Science. To be eligible to receive the fellowship, the recipient must be pursuing any graduate degree program in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) and also hold a GPA of 2.5 or above.

2011-2012 Nebraska Corn Board Fellowship Recipient

Cody Nichols is a graduate student in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources in the Animal Science Ruminant Nutrition Doctoral Program. Cody graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science and Industry from Kansas State University in 2007 and a Master of Science degree in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2009. Cody has done considerable research on byproducts and is continuing that work with Dr. Galen Erickson and Dr. Terry Klopfenstein at UNL. . Cody has written several beef reports and has presented his research at both the Midwest and National meetings of American Society of Animal Science (ASAS).

2011-2012 Nebraska Corn Board Scholarship Recipients

Dylan Kent is a freshman in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources majoring in Agricultural Education. She is the daughter of Brian and Michele Kent and is a graduate of Pender High School. Dylan was a 2011 Believers and Achievers Award Recipient and Cornhusker Girls State participant, and has earned her Girl Scout Gold Award and FFA State Degree. Dylan was very active in her high school FFA Chapter, an officer her sophomore, junior, and senior years. Through FFA, she has acquired leadership skills and has given her time as a volunteer in her school community. Dylan plans to become an Agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor in Nebraska.

Tyler Lauenstein is a freshman in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources majoring in Agribusiness. He is the son of Tony and Karen Lauenstein and is a graduate of Shickley High School. Tyler is also a James Canfield Scholar. He intends to pursue a degree in Agriculture that will allow him to acquire a job in an agricultural business and improve his family farming operation.

Haley Harthoorn is a freshman in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources majoring in Agribusiness. She is a graduate of Ainsworth High School. She is also a James Canfield Scholar and graduated in the top ten percent of her class. Haley grew up on a farm and ranching operation outside Ainsworth, Nebraska and has always been passionate about agriculture, acquiring ample knowledge from her father. She hopes to establish her own vineyard and expand to eventually own her own winery.

Thomas Volkmer is a junior in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources majoring in Agronomy. He is the son of William Volkmer and is a graduate of Syracuse High School. Thomas is a member of the Farmhouse Fraternity, UNL Agronomy Club, and serves as the Treasurer for the UNL Range Club. Thomas grew up on his family’s farm outside of Syracuse, Nebraska and has career interests in soil conservation and the seed production industry.

Vance Christensen is a senior in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources double majoring in Agronomy and Finance. He is the son of Christina Lorenz and is a graduate of Shelby High School. Vance is also a Susan Thompson Buffett Scholar. Vance has studied abroad twice in his time at UNL, once in Queretaro, Mexico and most recently in Hangzhou, China. He interned with China Minsheng Banking Corporation while in Beijing to learn about the Chinese banking system. Vance currently works as a grain merchandiser for ADM in Lincoln, Nebraska, and feels he will have many opportunities in the field of agriculture ahead.

Hal Thoene is a freshman in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources majoring in Agronomy. He hopes to become a crop consultant for a seed company and help out on the family farm.

Grant Potadle is a freshman in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources majoring in Animal Science. He is the son of Kurt and Marti Potadle and is a graduate of Tekamah-Herman High School. Grant is also a Beef Industry Scholar and James Canfield Scholar and is an incoming member of the Alpha Gamma Sigma Fraternity. He grew up on a farm in the Herman, Nebraska area where his family has been farming for four generations. He enjoys sports, agriculture, singing, fishing, and hunting. Grant has also started his own business, York Creek Red Angus, where he sells purebred cattle. He plans to return to the family farm and expand his business there.

Tayler Goertz is a freshman in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources majoring in Animal Science. Tayler considers herself the perfect definition of an animal lover. She has grown up with dogs and has shown them in 4-H for five years. Tayler plans to pursue career in Animal-Assisted Therapy, working with people through the love of animals.

November 14, 2011

Agriculture: the booming industry but for how long?


Every time we turn on the T.V. and watch the news, there is one thing that we are guaranteed to hear about: the economy. Every morning when I watch the news, I hear about the poor shape of our economy. However, I then realize that our entire economy is not struggling and that there are industries still thriving. One of those industries is agriculture! Currently, agriculture is one of the strongest industries in our nation. Agriculture continues providing jobs and has a trade surplus, with this year’s surplus reaching 42.3 billion dollars. There is no doubt that agriculture is one of the bright spots within our nation’s gloomy economy.

Currently, agriculture is thriving, and it is fairly easy to find a job in this industry. Although I wonder, how long will this trend continue? How can I ask a question like this when the agricultural industry is booming? Well, if we look at our economics and past history, we know that any industry won’t always remain in an uptrend and will eventually run into some rough patches. Just look at what happened in the 30’s and 80’s. Prior to these years, everything seemed to be going good in agriculture and the industry was also in a booming stage. However, things changed and agriculture started to see a down trend. Commodity prices dropped dramatically while input costs rose. Land values that were at record highs decreased severely. This left many land owners, mainly farmers, unable to pay off debt. So what could cause our current booming trend in agriculture to reverse? Well, there are many different factors these days that could change agriculture’s advancements. Just in this last year, we have seen record commodity prices and land prices. While these prices have gone up, input costs have followed. Yet, if we would see these prices begin to fall while input costs continue to rise, which we are starting to see a little of, farmers’ incomes could start to narrow and decrease the amount of capital being reinvested into the farm operation. If these things I just mentioned were to happen, we could see a reverse in today’s agriculture’s growth. It has already been predicted that farm incomes for 2012 will be lower than 2011, which saw a record of 103.6 billion dollars. It is estimated that in 2012 the commodity prices will stay steady while input costs will increase. Yet, this doesn’t mean farmers won’t make a profit in 2012, it will just be smaller compared to this year. It is also a sign that land values may begin to slow down from the dramatic increases that we have seen in recent years.

So now our question is: when will we see this uptrend in agriculture reverse into a downtrend? To be honest, I don’t think anyone can exactly predict when we will see this. It could be in the near future or it could be many years away because of so many factors. However, it is guaranteed that agriculture will someday face challenges, and it’s just a matter of time. It also depends on how you define a “downtrend”. Does it mean slower growth in agriculture or is it when the fixed costs and input costs outweigh the farmer’s profit? One thing is certain, we will always need agriculture in our lives and agriculture will become increasingly important in the coming years due to a growing world population. So there is no real answer for this question, but it does make many of us in the agriculture industry realize that we should enjoy these times of boom but also remain cautious of what the future may hold. We definitely don’t want to go back to the time when family farms were being put up on auctions and stress levels were running high in the agricultural community. However, I do believe that farmers can handle any future challenges. I know this and believe this because they have overcome all of the challenges in the past and continue to provide food, feed, fuel, and fiber for us every day. So with that being said, let’s continue to enjoy these booming times in agriculture but not forget that agriculture won’t always be in a booming stage.

Since agriculture will not be a booming industry forever, you can also read a previous blog on why farmers need a safety net! “Why the need of a safety net?”

November 10, 2011

Podcast: Growers urged to send comments to EPA in response atrazine petition

In this podcast, Greg Whitmore, a farmer from Shelby and member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, talks about a petition the Environmental Protection Agency received a earlier this year from a group known as Save the Frogs.

The group is asking EPA to ban the use and production of atrazine and EPA is taking public comments on the matter.

"Of course none of the information submitted in the petition justifies any change to conclusions EPA drew in 2010" when EPA reiterated that atrazine did not adversely effect amphibian development, Whitmore said. "That’s because there’s no new, credible science to justify any change. And it is unfortunate in these tight budget times that EPA and others have to devote time and dollars on something that has been proven safe and effective time after time."

Atrazine is used in small amounts in more than 50 farm products, including many popular herbicides farmers use. It is the most tested and most tracked crop protection product in history. It’s been around for more than five decades and has been proven safe at every EPA review, including a major review that concluded in 2007. There are more than 6,000 studies supporting atrazine's wide safety profile.

As for frogs and amphibians, there have been several published studies from independent laboratories using five additional species of amphibians. All demonstrated no effects by atrazine on amphibians.

Whitmore said the Nebraska Corn Growers Association encourage farmers to submit comments to EPA. To help, it has placed information on its website. Just click here. Comments are due Nov. 14.

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

November 9, 2011

Nebraska average yield estimate holds at 160 bushels per acre

In its crop production report released this morning, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that Nebraska corn yields would average 160 bushels per acre this year, resulting in a 1.52 billion bushel crop, the second largest crop ever produced in the state.

The yield estimate was unchanged from last month but is 6 bushels below last year. Total production, however, is greater than year ago because more acres were planted and harvested this year.

Nationally, USDA pegged yields at 146.7 bushels per acre, the lowest since 2003-04 and 1.4 bushels below last month’s estimate. That puts total U.S. production at 12.31 billion bushels, off from last month’s estimate of 12.44 billion. (See below.)

Lower production numbers, however, only dropped ending stocks 23 million bushels to 843 million bushels, according to USDA’s supply and demand report. Some of the difference in crop size and ending stocks was made up by a 100 million bushel drop in feed use, with a reduction in broiler production being cited specifically.

An estimated average farm price for the year was left unchanged in a range of $6.20 to $7.20 per bushel. (Last year's average was set at $5.18 per bushel.)

Earlier this week, USDA said 87 percent of Nebraska’s second-largest corn crop was harvested.

Thanks to many good stretches of weather, harvest this year occurred at a fairly quick pace – well ahead of the 66 percent five-year average. The quick harvest pace is allowing farmers to get fall field work done in preparation for planting come spring.

For details on Nebraska’s top crop, check out the Nebraska Corn Board’s Crop Progress Update online.

This week's photos come from the Nebraska Corn Board's 2011 crop progress photo set at Flickr. They was submitted by a member of the Howells-Clarkson FFA Chapter.

Corn production and balance sheet (click for a larger image):

November 7, 2011

Corn Production Stages

Have you ever wondered how corn is grown in Nebraska? Here is a diagram that shows the stages of corn production in Nebraska. Although the stages may be the same, not all farmers use the same methods in growing corn. Some farmers practice no-till, which means they do not use tillage methods and leave the soil undisturbed. Also, some corn farmers across Nebraska have water resources, which allows them to irrigate their corn crop. 

If you would like to know more about corn production in Nebraska, visit!

Click on picture to enlarge.

November 4, 2011

Podcast: Corn growers welcome EPA letter on farm dust

In this podcast, Steve Ebke, a farmer from Daykin and member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, talks about a letter Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson recently sent to a Senator from Michigan saying that EPA will not tighten controls on farm dust.

The letter driven by requests from Congress, farmers and farm groups who were concerned new EPA air quality standards would increase regulations on dust and that they would apply to farm operations.

Jackson said EPA made the decision after the consideration of the scientific record, analysis provided by EPA scientists and advice from the Clean Air Science Advisory Council.

"The bottom line is that the current rule for dust from farms is OK as it is now, and that it has the scientific backing to remain unchanged," Ebke said.

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

November 3, 2011

Strong ag economy brings jobs, opportunity to rural Nebraska

In an article in the Omaha World Herald last Sunday, reporter Henry J. Cordes explored the economic strength of the rural economy today. He talked about the demand for grain and how market fundamentals may have shifted.

Included was a reference to ethanol and distillers grains, the feed ingredient ethanol plants produce, giving livestock producers in the state a nice advantage. 

Cordes visited Central City for the story, pulling together some good information on how everything comes together to benefit rural communities: corn, ethanol, distillers grains and livestock.

He reported that over the course of the recession, Central City actually added jobs every year – overall employment this year is up 2.6 percent – about 50 jobs – from three years ago. (He also pointed out that half of Nebraska's rural counties added jobs over that time.)

From the article:
On main street, one Central City family put up a new Dairy Queen building a year ago and has been so busy they haven't had time to tear down the old one. A new computer repair shop opened up, adding four jobs to town, there's a new bank building, and the Subway sandwich shop has a new building going up. Two small new housing subdivisions have been built in town the last few years, something not often seen in small towns.

Kent Grosshans is the manager of Grosshans Inc., a fifth-generation, family-owned implement dealership in Central City that traces its roots to 1877. But in all those years, the business has seen few times like this.

Grosshans said sales have been about double what they were four years ago, and he's added three new workers in the last year. He'd hire another technician and salesman right now if he could find them.

Click here to read the full story, which takes a much broader look at the rural economy than the few highlights here.

In 2007, the Nebraska Corn Board's Cornstalk newsletter focused on the economic opportunities created by ethanol – from new markets to corn, to jobs to livestock producers taking advantage of distillers grains.

The newsletter centered on one town, Central City, which was an example of how ethanol plants were positively impacting communities all across the state and rural America. It highlighted rural development at its best.

You can download the newsletter here (.pdf).

November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Harvesting Corn!

Harvesting yellow corn! This corn will most likely be used for livestock feed!

November 1, 2011

Distillers grains research initiative yields more know-how more quickly

A three-year initiative that created a beef cattle advisory committee to oversee a research partnership between the Nebraska Corn Board and University of Nebraska resulted in a number of important breakthroughs when it comes to feeding distillers grains to cattle.

The initiative, which wrapped up this year, allowed an advisory committee to work with university researchers to more quickly identify research projects that would benefit cattle producers. The Nebraska Corn Board then provided funding for the projects. This reduced the lag time between research projects and doubled the amount of research conducted during the initiative.

"We were very pleased with how everything came together, as it allowed the corn checkoff to fund key research and more quickly advance the understanding of feeding distillers grains to cattle," Kelly Brunkhorst, director of research for the Nebraska Corn Board, said in a news release.

While the initiative ended, the Nebraska Corn Board continues to fund research and further expand the knowledge and understanding of feeding distillers grains to cattle. "We believe distillers grains, which are produced by ethanol plants, give Nebraska cattle producers a tremendous advantage in the marketplace, so the more we know the better," Brunkhorst said.

The Corn Board has published several feeding guides the focus on distillers grains and other co-products. The most recent one came out last fall and focuses on beef cattle.

(USDA recently issued a report on distillers grains - and noted that its feeding value is higher than original thought. Click here.)

Now that the three-year initiative is over, the researchers compiled a list, some highlights, of what was accomplished.

They include, for cattle in feedlots:
  • Drying distillers grains increases production cost, greenhouse gas emissions and does not have as positive an impact on cattle performance compared to using wet distillers grains. Modified distillers grains, meanwhile, is intermediate to wet and dry distillers grains. Understanding this has huge implications for Nebraska as Nebraska cattle producers can utilize wet distillers grains due to the proximity of corn, cattle and ethanol plants. “The research provided excellent results on comparing these types of distillers grains,” said Galen Erickson, a beef feedlot specialist with the University of Nebraska.
  • A rumen degradable sulfur concept was established and better explains hydrogen sulfide production, which can cause the polio observed with high sulfur diets from distillers grains feeding. “Based on metabolism work on sulfur funded through the research initiative, we have degradabilities for different distillers grains, and hydrogen sulfide production in different feedlot diets containing distillers,” said Erickson. “Likewise, we have recommendations on polio incidence as dietary sulfur and rumen degradable sulfur increase in feedlot diets.”

Some of the key results for cattle on forage include:
  • The energy value of distillers grains in forage based-diets was relatively unknown and a major need by the industry. “Thanks to research conducted through the initiative, this is now known and is well established,” said Aaron Stalker, a beef range specialist with the university. The comparison was also made to other major energy supplements in forage diets, such as corn.
  • Research also found that replacing nitrogen fertilizer by supplementing distillers grains to grazing cattle will have major implications and has been effective in intensely grazed pastures. “Plus, supplemented cattle have greater removal of nitrogen, from supplement compared to fertilizer, and perform better,” Terry Klopfenstein, professor of animal science added.

While many important strides were made over the last three years, the Corn Board said it recognizes that additional research needs remain when it comes to distillers grains.

“Ethanol production technology continues to advance,” Brunkhorst said.

For example, some ethanol plants are extracting corn oil for other uses and that changes the distillers grains. “We need to understand that and devote resources to additional research,” Brunkhorst said, “but we have limitations simply because our budget is limited by what is available via the corn checkoff, which is the lowest of all leading corn states.”