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DDGS and E.Coli in Cattle Diets: A Two-Part Study

Read the complete report: DDGS and E.Coli in Cattle Diets: A Two-Part Study

About This Report

Ethanol plants and cattle producers create a symbiotic relationship:  The use of wet and dry distillers grains from ethanol processing in beef cattle rations is a widely accepted practice in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. This market provides a significant source of income for ethanol producers and an excellent source of nutrition for beef cattle due to increased levels of available protein for their diets.

Previous studies have examined whether there is an association between distillers grains and glycerin, and their impact on E.coli 0157 and Salmonella populations. This report was a two-part study. The first part, conducted at the University of Minnesota, examined whether DGS (wet and dried) and glycerin impact the prevalence of E. coli 0157 in cattle. The second part, conducted at Kansas State University, looked at possible intervention strategies for the reduction of such food-borne pathogens in cattle fed ethanol byproducts, if there is such a connection.

Research results demonstrate that neither corn distillers grains nor soy glycerin supported increased shedding of E. coli O157:H7. Cattle fed distillers dried grains (DGS) in rations conducted at Minnesota’s research station did not demonstrate E. coli contamination after receiving those rations more than three weeks. The study also showed, soy glycerin had similar energy values as DGS.

The research also demonstrated that feeding glycerin in the rations of beef finishing cattle resulted in improved performance beyond the nutritional value of glycerin. The research team concludes that feeding glycerin can provide significant benefits to overall beef cattle performance.

Project Outcomes

This report provides ethanol processors and livestock producers more information about the effects and benefits of the inclusion of ethanol byproducts in cattle diets on the prevalence of E. coli 0157 in their system. AURI will partner with Minnesota Corn Growers Research & Promotion Council and Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council to disseminate this information to processors and producers through industry forums so that they are able to make better decisions regarding ethanol processing and cattle diets.


This research was funded by a collaboration involving Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council, Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, AURI and the United States Department of Energy.