Ethanol has proven itself as an efficient fuel that produces more fuel that what it takes to make it. What a lot of people don't realize, though, is that the coproducts from ethanol production are what give corn more added value than ever before.
Larry Cheney, senior beef consultant with the Land O Lakes Feed Storm Lake facility, told Hy-Noon Kiwanis members Monday about ethanol products and their potential for Iowa livestock producers.
Cheney said if livestock used wet or dry distiller grains, coproducts from ethanol production, that could mean that two or three products could be used locally.
Ethanol production itself has soared since the first plants came on line just a few years ago. He made a distinction between dried distiller grains, a granular-like substance that is easily shipped globally, and wet grains and solubles which are more of a local resource and so are fed to livestock relatively close to ethanol facilities where the coproduct originates.
Distiller coproducts actually offer a more efficient way of delivering protein to livestock than feeding corn, Cheney said. He said Iowa ranked fifth in the nation in feeder cattle numbers with 1.8 million head. Compared to $1.10 a day to feed cattle on conventional diets, Cheney said distillers grains coproducts can but the cost to 65 cents a day.
Northwestern Iowa has most of the largest share of ethanol plants either in operation or in the planning stages, Cheney said. The closest to Storm Lake would be the 100-million gallon US Bio plant under construction east of Albert City.