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Flexibility Advised When Selecting Feed Ingredients

by 5m Editor
11 January 2011, at 12:18pm

CANADA - A swine nutritionist with the Saskatoon based Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatoon reports prairie pork producers are considering a range of alternative feed ingredients in response to rising feed costs, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Typically feed represents at least 60 per cent of the overall cost of producing a pig even in Saskatchewan where housing and other costs associated with pork production are higher.

This year, although producers have been able to access all of the basic grains, quality is down a little bit and costs have gone up.

Dr Denise Beaulieu, a research scientist nutrition with the Prairie Swine Centre, says this year producers have been asking about ingredients that might not have been considered before such as lentils, peas and faba beans, many of the non-traditional ingredients.

Dr Denise Beaulieu-Prairie Swine Centre

It depends very much on the individual farm and the farm situation.

For example, if they're mixing their own feeds, how large they are whether or not they're buying complete feeds.

If they're mixing their own feeds, they have some type of on-farm mixing arrangement, then they're much more flexible.

They can utilize different feeds as they get them.

If they hear that their neighbor has some low quality wheat or something they may be able to get a deal on something like that.

Pigs are fairly resilient to changes in feed.

We formulate according to nutrients not to feeds persay but that being said they're advised to not make any dramatic shifts in the sources of those nutrients.

We would adapt the pig slowly to a change in diet.

Save some of the old diet and keep that and mix in the new diet slowly.


Dr Beaulieu observes, while producers are trying to take advantage of what's out there, there are limitations on every farm even if it's just limitations on bin space.

However she recommends considering the savings that might be had by looking around and getting alternative ingredients.