Distillers’ grains exports in 2007 set a new record and were nearly double export levels in 2006, according to data released by USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service, the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Census Bureau.

“The export market for distillers’ grains continues to grow tremendously,” Bill Hoffman, chairman of the National Corn Growers Association, said of the co-product of corn ethanol. “The strong demand for ethanol co-products in foreign markets in 2007 demonstrates the significant nutritional and economic value of these products for livestock.”

The United States exported 2.36 million metric tons of distillers’ grains in 2007, up 88 percent from the 1.25 million metric tons exported in 2006. Export totals in 2007 were nearly triple 2004 levels.

For the second year in a row, Mexico was the top customer of U.S. distillers’ grains exports, importing more than 700,000 metric tons, or 30 percent of total U.S. exports.

Canada was the second-leading market for U.S. distillers’ grains in 2007, 317,580 metric tons, followed by Turkey, 136,519 metric tons, Taiwan, 134,404 metric tons and Korea, 102,259 metric tons.

Turkey imported 136,519 metric tons in 2007, compared to 632 metric tons in the previous year. Significant gains were also seen in Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Israel, Indonesia. Cuba, Chile, Morocco, Netherlands and Spain.

According to NCGA estimates, approximately 14 percent of U.S.-produced distillers’ grains were exported in 2007. “Distillers’ grains exports were generally flat between the mid-1990s and 2004, but we’ve seen major upticks in demand in each of the last three years,” Hoffman said.