Date of this Version
A model was previously developed (Biofuel Energy Systems Simulator; www. bess.unl.edu) to predict greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and net energy yield when ethanol is produced from corn. The model also predicts feedlot cattle, dairy cattle, and swine performance and feed replacement value of ethanol coproducts. Updated equations that predict performance of feedlot cattle fed 0 to 40% of dietary DM as corn wet (WDGS), modified (MDGS), or dry (DDGS) distillers grains plus solubles replacing dry-rolled and high-moisture corn were developed and incorporated into the model. Equations were derived from pen-level performance for 20 finishing studies evaluating WDGS, 4 evaluating MDGS, and 4 evaluating DDGS conducted at the University of Nebraska. Feeding value of WDGS was 145 to 131% of corn replaced when included at 20 to 40% of diet DM due to a quadratic (P < 0.01) increase in G:F. The feeding value of MDGS was 124 to 117% with a quadratic (P < 0.01) increase in G:F and 112 to 110% for DDGS with a linear (P < 0.01) increase in G:F. Midwest corn-ethanol-livestock life cycle GHG reduction relative to gasoline (97.7 g CO2 equivalent/MJ of ethanol) was 61 to 57% when WDGS was fed to feedlot cattle for 20 to 40% diet inclusion. Feeding MDGS and DDGS to feedlot cattle reduced GHG emissions from the corn-ethanol-cattle system by 53 to 50% and 46 to 41%, respectively. Feeding WDGS to feedlot cattle was the optimum feed use of distillers grains plus solubles based on feeding performance and GHG reduction.