The U.S. ethanol industry exported 5.64 million metric tons of distillers grains worth nearly $1B in 2009, breaking the previous record set in 2008, according to data released last week by the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service. Exports in 2009 were 24% above 2008 levels and more than five times higher than the amount of distillers grains exported as animal feed just five years ago.

The top three export markets were Mexico (1.5 million metric tons), Canada (804,000 metric tons) and China (542,000 metric tons). Turkey and Thailand ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.


Total U.S. distillers grains production in 2009 was approximately 30.5 million metric tons.

Ethanol biorefineries produce about one bushel of high-protein distillers grains for every bushel of corn that enters a facility, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. The amount of distillers grains exported in 2009 is equivalent to the feed value of 5.4 million metric tons of whole corn and 1.6 million metric tons of soybean meal, according to displacement ratios developed by Argonne National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy facility.