Process Management

News last update:6 Aug 2012

Alternative ingredients can save feed costs

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."

Food leftovers
Producers 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.

Willing to change
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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