Pork producers can lower feed costs by using distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), says South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension swine specialist Bob Thaler.

Using limestone and 10% DDGS to replace part of the corn, soybean meal and dicalcium phosophate in grow-finish diets can reduce feed costs by up to 35 cents/animal, he says. Swine diets can contain more than 10% DDGS, but producers should start at that level and work from there.

SDSU’s Animal and Range Sciences Department has developed an online spreadsheet to help producers decide if DDGS is economical for them. Producers can access the information and do calculations at http://ars.sdstate.edu/SwineExt/ddgs.htm .

DDGS is a byproduct of ethanol production. It contributes amino acids, energy and phosphorus to swine diets.

But the nutritional value of DDGS can vary based on factors such as corn quality and processing method, says Thaler. New generation plants produce higher-quality DDGS, but producers should still be aware of nutrient content.

A University of Minnesota study has found health benefits from feeding DDGS. But a similar study at SDSU found no health advantage to feeding DDGS.

Thaler advises producers to make sure their pigs will gain health benefits from DDGS before assigning an economic value to it.