USGC conducting research on DDGS use in Southeast Asia

Council sets ambitious goal to create 1.125 million metric tons of new DDGS demand through aquaculture feed in Southeast Asia.

October 5, 2020

2 Min Read
USGC conducting research on DDGS use in Southeast Asia
U.S. Grains Council

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) set an ambitious goal in early 2020 to create 1.125 million metric tons of new demand for U.S. dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) in Southeast Asia by targeting the aquaculture feed industry. Through a series of research projects with both public and private partners, the results are flowing in and show economic and nutritional advantages of using the co-product in diets for shrimp and tilapia.

“DDGS show very good value in least-cost formulation programs as a feed ingredient for lower-crude protein feeds such as tilapia,” Ronnie Tan, USGC aquaculture consultant in Southeast Asia, said. “Factors including xanthophyll and phosphorus availability also may make DDGS attractive to higher value species like shrimp.”

Aquaculture is a large and growing production sector. In 2019, 6.5 million tons of tilapia and 3.8 million tons of shrimp were produced globally. Aquaculture feed for these species -- specifically tilapia -- is produced by modern, integrated feed mills, meaning knowledge transfer is easily translated into demand.

“The major constraint to DDGS use in [aquaculture] is not fear of trying but the general unsureness of maximum allowable levels,” USGC assistant director of Southeast Asia Caleb Wurth said. “Without this data, it would be unfeasible for us to consult and promote DDGS for [aquaculture feed].” 

To fill the existing knowledge gap for DDGS use in aquaculture feed, the council started exploring markets in Southeast Asia for potential research partners. Indonesia was identified as a key target market due to current aquaculture feed demand of 1.813 million tons annually and aggressive domestic policy seeking to reduce dependence on wild-caught fish.

USGC has partnered with the Indonesia Ministry of Marine Affairs & Fisheries, Republic to examine the utility of DDGS in feeding the shrimp L. vannamei under Indonesian conditions. A virtual memorandum of understanding was signed this summer, and the first feeding trial began in early September. In addition to this public partnership, USGC is simultaneously conducting private research with large, integrated industry partners in the region.

The council is also working to study the value of high-protein DDGS for these specific nutritional programs. These new, specialized DDGS products offer high digestibility, which adds value for shrimp, Asian seabass and grouper species in particular. USGC will continue to work with public and private partners to determine the ideal formulations for both types of DDGS for use in aquaculture feed.

“The accumulation of this data will help DDGS inclusion levels rise to their potential in [aquaculture feed],” Wurth said. “As consumer trends evolve, so do USGC programs to meet this shifting demand. Farmed aquaculture will be a major low-cost protein source for the future, and DDGS inclusion will help drive this industry forward.”

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