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Producer knows how to store WDGS

Jim Goggins of Springview knows the value of wet distillers grain with solubles, or WDGS, in his operation. WDGS has been long touted by cattle feeders, and now cow-calf producers like Jim and Shelly Goggins and their son, Coy, are also noticing the advantages, particularly when the cost is 75% to 85% of corn in the summer months.

It works well as a protein supplement for the cow herd or young feeders during the winter because it typically has 110% to 140% of the energy value of dry rolled corn on a dry matter basis. But storage is a concern for some producers.

At a glance

• Springview rancher Jim Goggins has been feeding WDGS for four years.

• Goggins adds 15% rough hay so he can pack the pile with his tractor.

• Spoilage has been minimal under nearly all storage conditions.

For the past four years, Goggins has been feeding nearly 200 tons of WDGS through the winter months to his 200-head cow herd, developing heifers and newly weaned purebred Red Angus bull calves, which are being raised for sale as 2-year-old breeding bulls.

Over that time, in field demonstrations conducted with University of Nebraska Extension educator Dennis Bauer, Goggins has found that storage is not a concern. “It is readily available, and it is easy to handle,” says Goggins. “If we can do this, anyone can. You don’t need any fancy machinery or equipment.”

“These products [wet, modified wet or dried] can be stored very successfully with a little planning and preparation,” says Bauer, who serves Brown, Keya Paha and Rock counties. “The hardest part is to think about buying your winter protein and energy needs for the cow herd in July or August.”

Bale bunker

Goggins typically makes a bunker from round bales. He has pushed WDGS into the makeshift bunker silo alone or has mixed 15% low-quality rough hay made from cattails and rushes with WDGS and packed it with his tractor. He has tried covering WDGS under plastic, but in the cases when he has packed it into the silo, spoilage hasn’t been an issue even when he didn’t cover the pile.

“Handling a wet or liquid product does have some challenges such as hauling a lot of water and sometimes freezing in the winter,” Bauer says. “These problems can be minimized or eliminated with proper planning and management.”

Mixing rough hay that cows would normally find nonpalatable with WDGS makes it a feed of choice for cows. “They love anything you mix with it,” Goggins says. “You can utilize some pretty tough feed sources, and it keeps them happy and full.”

For more information, contact Bauer at 402-387-2213 or e-mail

Flexible feeding schedule for cows

UNL Extension educator Dennis Bauer says that a producer can feed WDGS every day as a protein supplement to the cow herd, or even every third day, with no problems.

For example, if feeding 2 pounds on a dry matter basis as a protein source, the producer could feed 4 pounds on a dry matter basis every other day or even 6 pounds on a dry matter basis every third day.

“Beef animals have the ability to recycle excess protein as ammonia in the bloodstream,” Bauer says. “When fed as an energy source in backgrounding operations or to growing replacement heifers [400 to 600 pounds], these products are recommended to be fed on a daily basis.”

UNL research has shown less weight gain when distillers grain was fed every other day compared to every day, he says.


HOMEMADE STORAGE: Goggins stores WDGS in a bunker made of round bales.

This article published in the October, 2010 edition of NEBRASKA FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.