Formulating Feed with Opportunity Ingredients

CANADA - Feed represents the greatest single expense associated with raising pigs to market weight. Over the past two years the cost to feed a pig in the grow-finish phase has essentially doubled. While there looks to be some reprieve in feed prices starting in late 2013, producers always need to investigate new opportunities to reduce feed cost.
calendar icon 29 August 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

There are many existing, and some new, opportunity ingredients that can be used to increase margin over feed costs but we must understand the nutrients they contain, risks associated with using them and potential economic benefits when formulated correctly into pig diets.

Opportunity ingredients are those ingredients that: a) may not have been commonly used in pig diets in the past due to availability, b) may have been used but at limited quantity due to previous anti-nutritional factors (ANF) or cost. New ingredients pose a bigger challenge and potentially greater risks because a lot less is known about their nutrient content and availability of those nutrients, impact they may have, if any, on feed intake and if they contain ANF.

Examples of new opportunity ingredients are: dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) and expeller processed canola meal. Existing opportunity ingredients that have been around for some time are canola meal, peas, lentils, faba beans, bakery by-products, and liquid whey from dairy industry. These opportunity ingredients can offer significant diet and feed cost savings if formulated correctly into diets. However there are risks associated with using them.

The risks can be mitigated by acquiring as much information on the ingredient as possible prior to using such as nutrients it brings to the diet, impact on diet palatability and diet handling characteristics. As the demand for traditional feed ingredients increase we will be forced to use more opportunity ingredients in diets and optimize the use of current ingredients if we are to control feed costs and remain competitive.

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