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Co-products of the bio-ethanol production: offer and value for dairy cattle (MELKBIJ)

Main research question/goal
What is the nutritional value of the co-products from the bio-ethanol production as animal feed? What is the best way to use them in the diet and what are the effects on the performance of dairy cows? The answer to this research responds to a, important gap in the knowledge of nutritionists, feed millers and farmers. The production of bio-ethanol (based on vegetable raw materials) is gaining importance as a renewable alternative to petroleum. The co-products from this process are rich in protein and fibre (because the starch is converted into ethanol by fermentation). Feed evaluation research, zootechnical tests and a market study (which products and which quantities) are needed to answer these questions and to advise to what extent this protein source can replace soybean meal and thus may help limiting the amount of imported soybean meal.

Research approach
We analyze how many different production sites and production processes produce which kind of products in Belgium. We define each product’s composition, we estimate the nutritional value for dairy cattle and we investigate the storability and /or the possibility for ensiling. We present these data as a brochure. We closely follow a number of selected farms that are using such products. In addition, using experiments on our own experimental farm, we observe the effects on feed intake, milk production and milk composition. We distribute all collected data to the farmers through multiple channels.

This project has delivered clear and favourable results regarding the use of by-products from bio-ethanol production, as a valuable feedstuff for dairy cattle. We have shown that these products are energy- and protein-rich foods which can replace balanced concentrate and protein sources. Depending on the production process, the nutritional value of DDGS can vary quite strongly. The products have no negative impact on the production results; to the contrary. In considering these products for use on a practical farm, one should keep in mind the necessary investment for the storage of liquid products.

Funding provider(s)
Vlaamse Overheid - L&V ADLO

External partner(s)
Hooibeekhoeve - proefbedrijf voor veehouderij
LCV - Landbouwcentrum Voedergewassen
Proef- en vormingscentrum vd Landbouw
Date:1 Apr 2009 →  31 Mar 2011