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Research Offers Solutions to Feed Grain Shortages

9 October 2012, at 7:48am

CANADA - The chair of Manitoba Pork Council suggests research aimed at improving the disease resistance and yields of wheat and barley is key to creating long term solutions for the kind of feed shortages pork producers have faced this year due to drought, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Dramatic increases in the price of feed grains over the past three months or so have pushed the cost of raising a hog an estimated 60 to 70 dollars above break even.

Karl Kynoch, the chair of Manitoba Pork Council, suggests long term improving wheat and barley yields will benefit the Canadian livestock sector.

Karl Kynoch-Manitoba Pork Council:

With the drought that's happened in North America, it's actually doubled the cost of our feeds and that's one of the items that's put a real challenge here in Canada.

We've got to look at some long term solutions and in those long term solutions we have to look at things like the yields of feed grains.

The corn has really increased yields over the past few years and we've fallen behind that with our wheat and our barley. We need to get more innovative and get these yields of wheat and barley up and that's going to take some research and funding that we're going to have to put into that.

The goals are really to get just simply more tons of grain per acre. We've got to get those yields higher.

One of the other big challenges that we have is fusarium. Fusarium presents a huge challenge in our feed grains so we need to do research and develop varieties that have less disease in them so that we're more able to use them in our feed stocks.

When the grains come off the field and they have too much disease, we end up having to export those and then import grains with lower disease so that adds a phenomenal cost so a anything we can do to reduce the disease and increase the yields will go a long ways into more long term solutions for the industry.
Mr Kynoch notes initiatives developed through Growing Forward, such as the Swine Research and Development Cluster and the Canadian Swine Health Board, have been highly successful in forwarding research and industry is looking forward to learning what future support governments will provide for research through Growing Forward-2.

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