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

2009 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 and second year conferences in 2008 and 2009 attracted 150 educators for two, two day events including storage demonstrations, producer panels, tours and expert presentations. 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 in follow up surveys indicate educators have taught more than 5,700 producers and 69% of respondents indicate producers they taught have adopted storage practices.

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.


During 2009 significant accomplishments include; 2009 year two conference, one year follow up evaluation of 2008 year one conference, and six month follow up of 2009 conference. The 2009 conference held June 2-3 in Mead, Nebraska focused on storage and utilization of ethanol co-products in grazing systems. Attracting 40 educators from 6 states this conference included expert presentations, live demonstrations of 15 storage techniques and tours of grazing research utilizing co-products. The one year follow up has been very useful in linking professional development training to producer behavior change.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Surveys indicate the two train-the-trainer conferences in 2008 and 2009 led to impacts beyond gain knowledge and producers trained. Educators reported producers adopting practices as a result of training stimulated by our efforts. Educators responding to surveys trained more than 5,700 producers in 2008, 2009 and 2010. After the first conference, educators responding stated they taught 4,200 producers. A follow up survey six months after the second conference indicated another 1,500 producers were taught using the knowledge and materials from this project. Evaluations were completed post-conference in year one and year two, followed by a survey six months and one year after the first conference and six months after the second conference.

Survey Highlights
  • Post 2008: 55% plan to initiate, expand, or modify their programs to provide education on the issue of co-product storage and utilization to producers.
    Six month 2008: 62% of respondents had provided an educational Program utilizing materials and knowledge from the conference.
    One Year 2008: 40% of respondents had provided additional programs beyond six months after the conference utilizing conference materials and knowledge.
    Post 2009: 66% stated they are likely to TEACH practices related to co-product storage and utilization in grazing systems.
    Six month 2009: 65% of respondents had provided an educational program utilizing materials and knowledge from the conference.
    Overall: 69% of educators responding stated producers who they taught have actually adopted the storage techniques.
Selected Quotes
  • “Results of our education program included a slight increase in the storage of wet distillers grains with solubles (WDGS) combined with rough forage.”
    “I see more cow calf producers using the co-products in their heifer development programs.”
    “Used Modified product without bulking agent under plastic – 2 field days 100 and 160 people. Used the prepackaged stored DGS from conference as examples.” – 2008
    “We had 13 producers, nutritionalists, and others which represented 64,000 stockers, and about 600 cows.” – 2008
    “I used the info in a program geared toward to cow calf producers to help them utilize wet co-products by effective storage, approximately 50 people attended.” – 2009
    “I will be presenting mineral nutrition with dried distillers grains (DDGs) at 25 workshops winter and spring.” – 2010


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