Turkish imports of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), which reached a peak of 465,000 metric tons in 2008, have since been hit with a pair of regulatory restrictions, which the U.S. Grains Council is taking action to resolve.
The more immediate challenge is a newly adopted Turkish standard for DDGS that calls for fat levels between 5 and 10 percent. At the moment the standard is voluntary, but previous Turkish practice suggests the government will make it mandatory.
So-called “brown” DDGS for the cattle industry may be able to meet the Turkish standard, but “golden” DDGS, which the growing Turkish poultry industry demands, would not according to Joe O’Brien, USGC regional director in the Middle East and Subcontinent.
“We are mobilizing the industry in Turkey to respond to the standards issue and have these levels amended,” O’Brien said. “Large importers and end-users will not want to lose this valuable ingredient.”
With 9.5 million cattle, 6.5 million goats, 20 million sheep and a very large, modern poultry sector, Turkey was the fifth-largest importer of U.S. DDGS prior to China’s adoption of DDGS.
O’Brien believes the standards issue can be resolved but warns biotechnology acceptance is a parallel problem that overrides the standards issue.
Turkey indicated it is trying to emulate European Union policy on biotechnology, a move complicated by media-driven public distrust of all genetically enhanced products.
Turkish feed millers and food and drink associations have applied to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to have 21 biotech corn single events approved as in the EU.
“Technically that would allow DDGS to re-enter Turkey,” O’Brien said, warning, however, that Turkey has zero tolerance for the T-25 trait.
“Skyrocketing domestic meat and poultry prices have already prompted Turkey to liberalize some meat and feeder cattle imports, and domestic feed prices are still high,” O’Brien explains. “There’s a sense that Turkey will soon find a way out and let biotech feed enter the country. DDGS is a proven alternative in the Turkish market, and the industry will want to begin importing it again.”