Four-Year Research Project Indicates Wheat DDGS Could be Alternative to Soy Protein
A four-year, Defra-funded ENBBIO Link research study, involving 25 industry and academic partners has determined that distillers’ dried grain with solubles (DDGS), the co-product from bioethanol production, could comprise up to 30% of a pelleted feed ration as an alternative protein to soy, for growing and finishing pigs.
So far, little research has been conducted in the UK on the nutritional value of DDGS in the feed rations of mono-gastrics. Trials began with chicken flocks fed a diet containing 18% DDGS to measure feed conversion ratios, growth rates, and nitrogen absorption. Feed conversion ratios were improved, and liveweight gain was level, however the need to include more pure amino acids to balance the feed raised the overall cost of the diet.
Trials involving pigs began to be carried out at Nottingham University and Harper Adams University providing encouraging results. The trials showed no difference in performance, but the pig trials showed an issue with low lysine digestibility, possibly linked to the high-temperature grain drying process associated with biofuel production.
Overall the results were promising, showing that up to 300g/kg of wheat DDGS could be used as an alternative to imported soy in grower and finishing diets for pigs, however, producers would need to be mindful of the cost of the diet and the proper digestibility values.
Research continued on a commercial scale, assessing on-farm performance, slaughter characteristics, and meat quality of pigs fed the diet containing wheat DDGS, concluding that there were no negative effects upon the end product from the inclusion of the alternative protein in hog diets.