Document Type


Publication Date



feeds, distillers grains, ethanol production, corn distillers grains

Extension Number

ExEx 4029


Dairy Science


During the last century, livestock producers have relied heavily on highly valued crops to feed their cattle. Corn grain and silage, alfalfa hay and silage as well as other highly productive crops have been used extensively. Changes in oil prices have sparked interest into renewable energy alternatives. Ethanol production from corn has gained popularity in the Midwest resulting in increased availability of corn distillers grains. Corn distillers grains are an excellent feed for ruminants. They can usually be purchased as wet (40-70% moisture) or dry. They supply approximately 10% more energy than corn grain, and approximately 30% protein, 10% fat and 1% phosphorus. These are highly priced nutrients and thus desirable in a feed, although they might pose a challenge when formulating diets. When distillers grains are fed with other feeds that also supply these nutrients, dietary excesses of nitrogen and phosphorus may result in increased nutrient excretion and thus environmental concerns. Therefore, it is recommended that distillers grains be used to supplement feeds with a complementary nutrient profile such as low protein, energy, fat, and phosphorus.


Updated January 2006.