Are Distillers Grains Right for Your Operation?

Brayden Thompson, OSU Undergraduate Summer Research Intern

If you are familiar with livestock feed ingredients, there is a good chance you have heard of a product called dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) or more commonly referred to as distillers grains. Distillers grains are a byproduct of ethanol production and are most commonly made from corn in the U.S. but can also come from wheat in other parts of the world. However, few may be aware of how DDGS is produced and how processing can impact its feeding quality. Ethanol plants producing DDGS is like going to a potluck dinner. You know there are going to be several variations of mac and cheese. While they are still all mac and cheese, they are not all going to taste the same and this is similar for the production of DDGS. When ethanol plants produce DDGS, they do not all follow the same production practices, since this product is not regulated. This results in a product that can be highly variable between ethanol plants and even within batches at the same ethanol plant. In this week’s post we are going to look at what goes into the production of DDGS as well as how to properly include this byproduct feed ingredient into your next small ruminant ration. Continue reading

A Hay Test is Worth Every Penny

Christine Gelley, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Noble County

As hay making season ends and hay feeding season approaches, it is time to remind everyone that feeds hay how important getting a hay test completed is for deciding how to feed your livestock this winter. A hay test will cost you far less than the cost of a single round bale. The results you get back will give you the information you need to decide what type of feed and how much you will need to purchase to keep your animals productive until good pasture is available to graze again.

If you have never done a hay test before, Extension is here to help you. We have tools you can borrow and personnel to help with consultation. Here are the steps of how to take a hay test.

  1. Subsamples can be collected with a Hay Probe and a clean bucket or with your hands and large scissors.
  2. Select 10 random bales from the same field and cutting.
  3. Drill/Reach into the center of the bale, from the wrapped side, not the exposed side, and remove a probeful/handful of hay.
  4. Hold over the bucket and empty/cut 4-6 inch long pieces.
  5. Repeat the above until you have subsampled all 10 bales.
  6. With your hands, gently mix up the pieces in the bucket.
  7. Fill a quart plastic bag with your composite sample.
  8. Press out all the air and seal the bag.
  9. Label the sample bag with your name and sample ID.
  10. Complete the Sample Information Form for the lab you wish to use.
  11. Return the Hay sample(s) along with the Sample Information Form.
  12. Go over the results of your hay test with a professional familiar with how to feed your class of livestock.

When you Continue reading