High cereal prices prompt higher inclusion of by-products and imported corn

CANADA - The University of Alberta reports increasing wheat and barley prices have prompted western Canadian swine producers to shift to US corn and to include higher amounts of by-products, such as distillers dried grains in rations, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 18 October 2007
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Feed costs play a major role in the profitability and long term competitiveness of any livestock operation and, over the past year, the cost of certain ingredients have risen dramatically fueled primarily by increased demand from biofuel production as well as the human food market.

University of Alberta feed industry research chair Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra says higher ingredient costs, especially for starch sources, have prompted producers to reevaluate ration formulations.

Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra-University of Alberta

The biggest increases have been for the grains, wheat, barley in western Canada and that has directly resulted in increased feed costs but it also allowed some opportunity to reassess our feed formulations and look at potential inclusion of byproducts in our rations.

The interest in the use of coproducts has obviously increased drastically with this increase in feedstock prices so the interest is very high.

I'm not quite sure if we have all the bits and pieces of information available to give people confidence but any increases in cost, of course, will allow some reassessment of risk management and probably has led people to be willing to take some risk on quality of these coproducts in order to keep feed costs at least in some control.

As I indicated it has also resulted in corn coming across the border right now to be included in swine rations.

Dr. Zijlstra notes, with the increased feed costs and changes in exchange rates, it's crunch time for pork producers.

He encourages producers to reassess their formulations relative to risk versus cost and be even more open to using other feedstuffs in diets.

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