Pork Producers Trade Growth Rate for Reduced Feed Costs

10 September 2012, at 7:29am

CANADA - A swine nutritionist with the Prairie Swine Centre reports pork producers are sacrificing growth rate in order to save money on feed ingredients. As a result of reduced US corn production due to drought, feed grain prices have been on the rise.

Dr Denise Beaulieu, a research scientist nutrition with the Saskatoon based Prairie Swine Centre, says to help lower feeding costs scientists are looking aggressively at alternative feeds and how they can best be utilised.

Dr Denise Beaulieu-Prairie Swine Centre:

The traditional grains that we would use in hog rations, wheat and barley, corn, corn distillers that some producers might be using, soybean meal, they have all been impacted by the high price of grains. For example if any of those, the cost goes up, they all go up.

It's just supply and demand so producers are out there looking for alternatives to these traditional grains to decrease the overall cost of trying to feed their pigs.

So things like lentils could be coming into a ration, peas, perhaps further west things like fava beans. Ingredients that they wouldn't normally be considering, they may have been too high priced before but they would be costing into a ration now.

Perhaps some of the lower quality grains, so grains that wouldn't even be considered good for feed grains before, they might be coming into a ration.

A lot of the grains, or they might be by-products, they could be lower in energy and higher in fibre than we're used to seeing so, because of that, the pigs will probably grow a little bit slower.

Producers are willing to accept this now. They'll do what they can to reduce the cost of rations.

Dr Beaulieu says the challenge when formulating diets using these alternative ingredients is getting a good consistent supply. She says producers are constantly having to reformulate their rations as they find bargains on specific ingredients so that, regardless of the source, the pig is getting all of its nutrients.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

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