Livestock Producers Adjust Rations to Curb Rising Feed Costs

CANADA - The University of Alberta reports western Canadian livestock producers are making significant adjustments to ration formulations in an effort to keep a lid on rising feed costs, Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 27 December 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
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The price of feed, the highest variable cost in the production of beef or pork, has risen substantially over the past year fueled primarily by the increase in the subsidized production of ethanol for use as fuel.

University of Alberta feed industry research chair Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra says changes in ration formulation will depend on the availability of ingredients.

Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra-University of Alberta

We've seen a very drastic change obviously, particularly in the feed grains.

The one that probably would have increased in price the most might be wheat and that might not only be due to ethanol but also due to some shortages in wheat for food consumption as well.

Then some of the other feedstuffs have followed similar trends.

Barley would probably be in the same category and also peas have also seen increases in prices.

Then some of the other feedstuffs would have followed that same general trend but perhaps not as much, to the same extreme.

Canola meal for example might be an example of that one.

What I know from some of my colleagues in Alberta, what has happened is that a lot wheat has come out of swine diets and has been replaced by corn because most of the barley continues to go into cattle diets.

We probably also have seen an increase in use of byproducts in swine diets, in particular the wheat byproducts and the corn DDGS has also increased in use in western Canada.

Dr. Zijlstra recommends, when formulating with a wider array of feedstuffs, particularly a wider array of fibre and protein content, adopt a net energy system and formulate on standardized or true ileal digestible amino acids.

And, when it comes to these alternative feed stuffs, consider inclusion levels but continue use as much of these alternative ingredients as possible because the cost savings can be substantial.

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