COLUMN-U.S. Use of Corn for Ethanol Is High but Hyped: Wynn
by Gerard Wynn (Reuters) …It has now become ubiquitous to quote the ethanol industry’s corn consumption at 40 percent of the national crop.
But the estimate is inaccurate, by assuming away ethanol co-products and in particular so-called “distillers grains” which substitute for corn in animal feed.
The problem has arisen partly because the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) fails to distinguish between ethanol and distillers grains in its headline statistics on corn consumption.
Distillers grains now equal about a third of corn’s contribution to animal feed, reflecting massive growth in the ethanol industry.
The good news for the ethanol industry is that its net corn consumption is far smaller than the apocryphal 40 percent figure. The bad news is it is still an eye-watering 28 percent or so of the national crop.
… Wet-mill plants use an intensive process to separate different parts of a corn kernel to produce syrups, ethanol, corn-starch-based plastics, oil, and other products. Starch is used to make ethanol, and bran and fibre to make corn gluten feed.
…A bushel of corn comprises 80 percent digestible nutrients while dried distiller’s grains contain some 82 percent digestible nutrients, and corn gluten feed around 75 percent digestible nutrients, according to the report from USDA’s Economic Research Service, titled “Ethanol Co-Product Use in U.S. Cattle Feeding”.
DDGS contains around three times more protein, fat and fibre than corn, according to RFA calculations. READ MORE