Hog farmers brace for high feed costs

US - A soaring demand for corn used to produce ethanol has hog farmers bracing for higher feed prices that threaten to put some producers out of business.
calendar icon 26 January 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

The price of corn is expected to climb to $4 a bushel, a level not seen in the last decade. The soaring price was the subject of a seminar Thursday at the Iowa Pork Congress, a two-day annual gathering for Midwest hog farmers.

Neil Dierks, chief executive officer of National Pork Producers Council in Des Moines, said the situation is so dire that some producers will opt to quit the business.

"Right now most hog farmers are in the break-even range," he said.

Jerry Shurson, a professor who studies swine nutrition and management at the University of Minnesota, said the situation could ease as farmers rely more on an ethanol-production byproduct called distillers grains as animal feed.

Most farmers already feed their hogs between 10 percent to 20 percent of distillers grains along with conventional corn, Shurson said.

He said distillers' energy value is equal to corn, but there may be concerns about them being high in fat and having lower amounts of protein.

Others are concerned that the price of distillers is also rising and is comparable to the price of corn.

Source: Kansas City

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