Pork producers dealing with higher input costs should consult a nutritionist
to explore options presented by alternative feed ingredients, according to Hans
Stein, swine nutritionist from the University of Illinois Extension.
Stein said a number of feed alternatives are available at different locations
in the state that could replace a portion of the corn in pig diets. Distillers
dried grains (DDGs) "obviously are one thing we have a lot of here in Illinois
and are available to everyone," said Stein, who was a featured speaker last week
at feed cost management seminars hosted by the Illinois Pork Producers
Association (IPPA) at Princeton and Decatur.
IPPA put the seminars together in response to feed prices that in the last
year have increased from roughly 45% to 50-55% of total input costs. "We feel
really comfortable for producers to include up to 20% DDGs in the diets of all
groups of pigs, if the diet is formulated correctly," Stein said. "In many
cases, we probably could feed (as much as 30 to 40% DDGs) but we don't have the
research to prove it yet."
also may include everything from oats, barley, and wheat byproducts to leftover
products from the food processing industry in pigs' diets, Stein said. "There
are several alternative products that are being marketed to the (pork) industry
at relatively attractive prices," he said.
Producers looking to lower feed costs with alternative
products first must be willing to change aspects of their operation and their
mindset, Stein said. "Feed costs definitely have gone up," he said. Producers
need to "accept the idea that the days when the lowest feed cost was a mix of
corn and soy meal probably are over.
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