Council Team Shows Saudi Arabian Feed Producers Value of DDGS

Two U.S. Grains Council (USGC) members recently traveled to Saudi Arabia to participate in consultations with sophisticated grain buyers and USGC's local consultant, demonstrating the value of distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) as part of a nutritious but lower cost feed ration.

Diaa Ghaly, director of business development at MIRASCO, and Sean Mulford, DDGS merchandiser at Agniel Commodities, joined Nabeel Salameh, USGC's local consultant, in the meetings with representatives of eight feed manufacturers, processing facilities and dairy or poultry producers.

While those the team met with all have deep experience in importing U.S. feed grains, they typically underutilize DDGS. The U.S.-based sellers focused their presentations on the possibilities for substituting DDGS for part of the corn used in a typical ration, maintaining nutritional content for an overall lower price.

The Council has worked to build confidence in DDGS among Saudi Arabian users since its inclusion on the country's subsidy list in 2011. Being on this list is critical for importers to become interested in a commodity and offered a new opportunity for USGC to provide education on the U.S. grain marketing and handling systems that offer efficient feed formulations for Saudi buyers.

In today's market, DDGS are easily available and well-priced, while corn imports into the Middle East and North Africa are facing competition from other export markets like Ukraine, Brazil and Argentina due to price and geographic advantages.

“Livestock producers in Saudi Arabia could benefit from including DDGS in their rations,” said USGC Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa Hesham Hassanein. “By meeting with them, we were able to build their confidence in the United States’ brand and find out what hurdles we need to overcome."

The USGC visits to Saudi Arabian grain users are part of a longer-term strategy to more heavily promote corn co-products, including DDGS and corn gluten meal, in addition to commodity corn throughout the region.

“Even though we are facing strong competition, we still have to build connections with valuable end-users in the Middle East to help them see the value of U.S. grains as well as U.S. co-products like DDGS," Hassanein said. “We want to provide good information to these customers and build connections that will help them be profitable."

The regional outreach program will continue this month with a longtime USGC consultant in Morocco who is also a poultry scientist traveling to Egypt to provide one-on-one consultations with local feed manufacturers and poultry producers. These meetings will also demonstrate how DDGS can reduce costs while maintaining or even improving nutritional offerings for livestock.