A new summary of ethanol co-product trade statistics reports U.S. exports of distillers grains (DG) — a co-product of dry mill ethanol production — has set a new record of 12.56 million metric tons (MMT) in 2015. Last year’s DG export number was 11 percent higher than 2014, and was more than double the amount exported in 2009. The report released by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) finds that U.S. DG exports were shipped to 45 countries on five continents in 2015.
“This report shows the global reach of American-made distillers grains,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA president and CEO. “In 2015, an estimated 34 percent of U.S. distillers grains production was exported, meaning one out of every three tons produced was shipped to foreign markets. These data make it crystal clear that the U.S. ethanol industry is both fueling and feeding the world. It is also worth noting that DG exports were worth almost $3 billion in 2015, providing a critical source of revenue to ethanol producers.”
RFA’s statistical summary, which draws on data from several U.S. government entities, shows that China, Mexico, Vietnam, South Korea, and Canada represented the top five markets in 2015 for DG exports. China received 50 percent of DG exports, while Mexico received 13 percent. Both Vietnam and South Korea received 5 percent of DG exports. With respect to imports, the report finds that last year Canada was once again the top supplier of DG imports to the United States, and shipped 401,554 MT to the United States. China and Brazil were the only other exporters of DG to the U.S. market in 2015. The RFA document also provides statistics on feed co-product exports from wet mills, including corn gluten feed and meal.
“Between ethanol and distillers grains, our industry exported the equivalent of 800 million bushels of corn last year,” Dinneen said. “If that amount of corn had been exported in raw form, it would have been worth $3.6 billion. But in the form of ethanol and distillers grains it was worth $4.8 billion. This is value-added agriculture at its best.”