US farmers start to use more byproducts
The recent ethanol boom's effect on corn prices makes farmers seek
alternative sources of feed. Corn typically accounts for 85% of cattle feed in
feedlots in the US.
For years, farmers have turned to bakeries, candy makers and bagged salad
manufacturers to supplement their animals' rations and help control feed costs.
In the US, roughly 75 companies registered with the state Department of
Agriculture provide some kind of human food product to farms for animal
consumption, department spokeswoman LeeAnne Mizer said.
David Ray, president and CEO of Mike-sell's Potato Chip Co., said
potato peels are shipped to a Clark County farm weekly. That saves Mike-sell's a
lot of costs as well. Lou McDorman, who lives on the Clark/Greene county line,
said for 20 years he has fed cattle corn gluten, a corn byproduct from a Cargill
plant that makes high-fructose corn syrup — a ubiquitous food sweetener used in
soft drinks and ice cream. The gluten costs $80 a ton, far less than other
protein sources, he said.
Chris Blauser, a
veterinarian and owner of some pig farms in Ohio, said Ohio Valley began using
liquid food byproducts in 1996, when corn prices soared to $5 per bushel. Liquid
byproducts account for about a quarter of the hogs' diet but haven't hurt meat
quality because rations remain nutritionally balanced, he said. "It's a positive
thing with corn prices being so high," Blauser said.
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