Alternative Feedstuffs: Beyond the Euphoria

     The rise in basic feed ingredient costs has resulted in a skyrocketing cost of production for swine producers.  Corn prices, fueled by ethanol demand, have added roughly $1.50+/bushel to the cost of this most widely used swine feed ingredient in the last year or so.  The combination of shifting acres to corn and rising foreign demand for soybeans and soybean products has given rise to the old cheer, "Beans to the Teens!" among the crop producers and marketers.

     These "shocks" to feed ingredient prices have driven a very big interest in the use of alternative feedstuffs among swine producers.  There is no doubt a very nice savings that can be captured from the careful addition of alternatives to corn and beanmeal but some caveats are clearly in order.  To understand the issues beyond simply plugging these alternatives into a least cost ration analyzer, it would be wise to visit a couple of very informative websites that detail the sometimes forgotten potential consequences of such a strategy.

     The short list can be found at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/AN124.  Myer and Hall give a very good introduction to the considerations beyond price for qualifying alternative feeds.  Another blue-chip source of information comes to you from your friends at Kansas State University, http://ksuswine.org where you will find a host of web-based calculators and materials that flesh out the bullet points provided by the University of Florida Extension site.

    Before you gum up the bacon slicers and have to bury a bunch of liquified cat food that you thought was coming in nice, dry little kibbles, visit the websites above and sharpen up your pencil.