Storage and Utilization of Ethanol Co-Products By Small Cattle Operations

2008 Annual Report for ENC07-096

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2007: $44,370.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:
Francis Hay
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Storage and Utilization of Ethanol Co-Products By Small Cattle Operations


Educators from ten states gained knowledge and experience with ethanol co-product storage and utilization. With firsthand experience in storage techniques educators were prepared to teach these techniques to others. The first year conference attracted 110 educators for a 2 day event including storage demonstrations, a discussion panel with cattle producers, and presentations form experts in the field of co-product utilization. Each educator was provided a resource packet with electronic media including pictures, videos, written reports, and interactive spreadsheet tools for use in educational programs. Participant responses indicated 100% gained knowledge while greater than 30% plan to initiate educational programs locally.

Objectives/Performance Targets

  • Professional development conference for education Extension Educators from Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and South Dakota, as well as NRCS staff, high school agriculture educators and community college animal science educators.

    Demonstrations of mixing and storage. Educators will see storage techniques and issues of spoilage and quality. Storage types will include bunker, bag, and slab storage which are the most Commonly used by small producers.

    Interaction between educators and small livestock producers experimenting with on-farm storage. Interaction between educators and beef/cow calf experts. These producers will be included in planning and teaching the professional development conferences.

    Resources toolbox for use by educators to provide training in their local areas. Toolbox will include PowerPoint presentations, written materials, and CD’s for their future reference.

    Ag educators will become knowledgeable about storage and feeding of co-products in small cattle operations. This knowledge will be passed on to producers and students by use of demonstrations, presentations, and written materials. Producers with this knowledge will make informed decisions and adopt appropriate storage techniques. Use of distillers will improve profitability in operations, provide alternative feed when pasture is unavailable, and improve markets for distillers products in areas where ethanol plants have greater supply than demand.


The conference planning committee made up of grant participants began planning the ethanol co-product storage and utilization conference in February of 2008 and installed storage demonstrations in April recording the process with photos and video for resource materials. The first year conference included detail on utilization of co-products for finishing cattle and cow calf supplemental feeding along with detail on storage techniques and outcomes. The first year conference had 110 in attendance from 10 states. Included in the conference was a full scale demonstration of storage techniques, panel discussion with producers, and panel discussion with experts. A resource notebook with electronic media was distributed to all in attendance and 20 additional contacts. Storage demonstrations included 7 different storage techniques installed prior to the conference and opened during the conference for educators to view storage results. Educators were able to watch live mixing of wet and modified wet distillers grains with ground straw to show the storage process. Panel discussions allowed educators to ask questions of producers and experts on all aspects of co-product feeding and storage. Working with the University of Nebraska Agricultural Economics Department an interactive spreadsheet was developed. This interactive spreadsheet titled Co–Product STORE (Storage To Optimize Ration Expenses) was debuted at the storage and utilization conference and was included as part of the resource materials.

Year two conference has been set for June 2-3 2009 with a focus on storage and utilization of ethanol co-products in range and pasture. During February 2009 a follow up survey was sent out to evaluate the impact of the year one conference and educational materials. Still to be done is year two conference and evaluation of year two conference.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Impacts: Evaluations were done at the conclusion of the conference. Some of the highlights;
  • 100% of those responding reported moderate to significant improvement in knowledge of the principals of storage and utilization of co-products.

    93% indicated moderate to significant gain in knowledge pertaining to how small cattle operations can utilize co-products.

    55% plan to initiate, expand, or modify their programs to provide education on the issue of co-product storage and utilization to producers.

    59% plan to initiate, expand, or modify their behavior to share information on co-product storage and utilization with other educators.

    54% plan to initiate, expand, or modify their behavior to share information one on one with producers.

    53% stated that improved farm sustainability was a likely or very likely result from this educational program.

    Communicate this info to customers that have shown and interest in storing the product

    Meetings, Workshops, maybe future demonstrations

    Use the PPT and other resources to add to current programs

    Attempt to set up some storage demos

    Incorporate information in educational programs

    Producer educational meetings news releases feature stories for magazine, one on one questions, staff training, co worker and advising

    Create educational materials, create press materials to get this topic covered in area newspapers

    I plan to hold programs this fall for producers to educate them how they can utilize and store co-products

    Use in courses I teach

    At the great lakes grazing conference as a speaker this July.


Joyce Reicks

Sandy Johnson

Rick Funston
Beef Cattle Reproductive Physiologist
402 W State Farm Rd
North Platte, NE 6910-7751
Office Phone: 3086966740
Aaron Stalker
Beef Range Systems Specialist
402 W State Farm Rd
North Platte , NE 6910-7751
Office Phone: 3086966740
Sara Ellicott
Extension Educator
1071 County Road G, Room B
Ithaca, NE 6803-2234
Office Phone: 4026248010
Dan Loy

Cody Wright

Galen Erickson

Extension Feedlot Specialist
Brent Plugge

Extension Educator
Larry Howard
Extension Educator
200 South Lincoln Street
West Point, NE 6878-0285
Office Phone: 4023722736
Troy Walz

Extension Educator