News last update:6 Aug 2012

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.

Potato peels
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.

Liquid byproducts
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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