To help identify opportunities and barriers in the feeding of ethanol distillers' grains, the Nebraska Corn Board will conduct an extensive survey of livestock producers and feeders in Nebraska and 11 other states.
The surveys will be mailed to 9,500 livestock operations in early January 2007.
The project is being conducted in cooperation with the Nebraska and National Agriculture Statistics Service, and is made possible with a $135,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program.
Kelly Brunkhorst, ag promotion coordinator with the corn board, expects the survey to yield valuable information on livestock producers' attitudes about distillers' grains.
"With the recent reductions in corn stocks and the resulting increase in corn prices, many livestock groups are now expressing concerns about future feed availability," Brunkhorst says. "Distillers grains are going to be an important part of the corn-livestock-ethanol equation going forward. This survey will help us to better understand what the livestock industry thinks about distillers' grains and the opportunities for increased usage, so we ask that producers take time to complete the survey."
In addition to the 580 million gallons of ethanol they will pump out this year, Nebraska's 12 ethanol plants are expected to produce 1.8 million tons of distillers grains. That's would be double the amount of distillers grains produced just two years ago.
As the ethanol industry expands, Brunkhorst says, the output of distillers grains will continue to increase at a rapid rate.
"Up to this point, the demand for the distillers' grains has kept pace with supply. We need to make sure that demand continues to grow, because distillers' grains are also an important part of the profit equation for ethanol producers."
Results of the distillers' grains survey will be released this summer.
The Nebraska Corn Board collects and disburses the funds generated by the ¼-cent-per-bushel corn checkoff. Nebraska corn checkoff funds are market development, research and education projects.