Managing Through Protein Supply Disruptions

What is happening to the supply of supplemental crude protein sources?

  • Dramatically lower demand for gasoline due to COVID-19 restrictions has resulted in collapsing prices for ethanol.
  • Many plants across the country have either curtailed production or ceased altogether.
  • Consequently, distillers grains have become much less available and more expensive.

What alternatives are available?

  • Oilseed meals, such as soybean, canola, or sunflower meal.
  • Commercial supplement with or without urea in either a dry or liquid form.
  • High-quality roughages especially high-protein alfalfa hay.
  • Other feedstuffs such as field peas or whole soybeans are other options.

What should I consider when choosing a protein source?

  • Tools such as the SDSU Extension Feed Cost Calculator (!/calculators/feed-cost) compare feeds based on delivered cost per unit of protein.
  • Protein supplement choice can depend in part on what other feeds are being fed. Urea-based supplements require a rapidly soluble source of carbohydrates, which can be an issue if the rest of the diet is primarily low-quality, high-fiber roughage.
  • Visit with a nutritionist or Extension specialist for more management considerations surrounding changing feed ingredients.

SDSU Extension Cow/Calf and Beef Nutrition Specialists

Adele Harty      

Julie Walker     

Ken Olson        

Olivia Amundson

Robin Salverson

Warren Rusche