Corn steep liquor is a yellowish-brown, thick liquid, which is a by-product of the starch industry/ ethanol fermentation industry. Corn steep liquor is named so because of the fact that it is made possible only through a wet milling process called steeping. Steeping is a process in which the corn is steeped in warm water for 40-48 hours, during which, the soluble parts of the corn kernels are absorbed in the steeping water. The steeping water is then removed, and this is called corn steep liquor.
Corn steep liquor is processed by evaporating the moisture to around 50% to obtain a slurry-like corn steep liquor. Alternatively, the moisture can be brought down to 5-10%, and converted into a powdered form of corn steep liquor, which can be useful in animal nutrition as well as an organic fertilizer.
This obtained corn steep liquor liquid or powder is high in nutritional value. Corn steep liquor is an extremely rich source of protein, amino acids, nitrogen, vitamins, and minerals.
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Cost-Feasibility of Corn Steep Liquor Places it in a Favorable Spot within Developing Countries
Corn steep liquor, being a by-product of the starch industry, has always been available at a reasonable cost. But this very trait of corn steep liquor is considerably important now more than ever, since the feed conversion rate for animals is as high as it could be. Corn steep liquor proves to be an efficient and cheaper way to incorporate all the necessary nutrients for animals. Corn steep liquor can provide animals with a rich source of proteins, amino acids, and vitamins, to achieve optimal growth in a shorter timeframe.
Corn steep liquor also provides multiple other benefits along with just the nutritional aspect for animal feed. Corn steep liquor, when used in compound feed pellets, acts as an excellent feed binder. When used in poultry feed, corn steep liquor helps in reducing free dust particles, and provides a grain-like appearance and color to the feed, making it more acceptable to birds. The multifaceted beneficial nature of corn steep liquor is why the product has been gaining traction in the market lately.
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Corn Steep Liquor Finds High Applicability in Organic Fertilizers
Corn steep liquor is a prominent contender for an organic fertilizer. The product is rich in amino acid, minerals, and vitamins. Corn steep liquor is considered most ideal for organic agriculture because of the free nitrogen content the product has for ready absorption by plants, helping in the rapid growth and development of the plants.
Organic agriculture and the growing trend of organic foodstuff are major driving factors for the increasing demand for corn steep liquor. In 2017, there was a 20% growth in organic farmland over the previous year, and a 12.5% increase in organic agriculture producers, worldwide, leading to the increased demand for organic agriculture aids, globally.
Developing countries such as India, Mexico, and Uganda hold the top spots for organic agriculture produce. As such, the opportunities for growth in the demand for corn steep liquor are present in developing countries. While, developed countries have the highest demand for organic agricultural produce.
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Increased Meat & Meat Products Consumption Pushing Livestock Businesses, Creating Opportunities for Feed Additives Such as Corn Steep Liquor
With a constantly increasing global population and increasing demand for proteins as a result of increasing per capita income, the demand for meat and meat product has never been higher. To meet this increasing demand for meat and meat products, livestock rearers have to depend upon proper nutrition of the livestock to obtain optimal growth and high-quality meat.
Corn steep liquor is such an additive that can provide the required nutritional profile, for a fraction of the cost of premium nutrition products. Since feed costs take up a majority of the cost that goes into livestock businesses, bringing it down is significantly important for business owners, making corn steep liquor the additive of choice for livestock rearers.
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Corn Steep Liquor Still Facing Relatively Low Penetration Rate against Synthetic Fertilizers
Even though corn steep liquor has multiple benefits, the market for fertilizers and feed additives is still saturated with chemical fertilizers and feed additives. Corn steep liquor has not attained the level of recognition and penetration that competes with conventional feed additives/fertilizers.
Since the marketing and availability of synthetic/chemical fertilizers are very aggressive as compared to that of corn steep liquor, product penetration is very low in developing countries. Some of the major manufacturers do not offer the product in many developing areas, making it even harder to gain traction in some geographies.