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Proceed Carefully with Feed Alternatives

by 5m Editor
1 October 2008, at 12:00am

By Dr Chad Hastad, Swine Nutrition Services Inc. who explains that care is needed when considering unfamiliar feed ingredients for pig diets.

With the high cost of feed, we get a lot more questions about 'cheapening up' diets. Before we look at alternative ingredient options, there are a number of things you should be doing right now to counter higher feed costs:

  • Lower particle size to improve feed efficiency
  • Keep feeders adjusted correctly
  • Look at market weights and adjust down if it makes sense
  • Consider eliminating all fat from diets
  • Look at increasing inclusion rates of dried distillers grains (DDGs)
  • Evaluate how Paylean is being used
  • Work with your nutritionist/vet/suppliers/banker on farm to find ways to save dollars on your operation
  • Make decisions based on facts, not emotions
  • Look at feed budgets – are they correct and are they being followed?
  • Look at possible equipment changes to improve efficiency (feeders, waterers, etc)

If you are following these fundamentals, you can be more pro-active in looking at alternative ingredients. These could be any other energy or protein source. Our clients have fed a wide range of products, including pet food, sticky granola, Jolly Ranchers, brown sugar, corn flour and soup mix by-product.

When considering any by-product, these are the questions you should be asking:

  • What is the nutrient composition? Table 1 shows the nutrient values of various grains and by-products compared to corn. Table 2 and Table 3 show maximum usage rates for common protein and energy sources.
Table 1: Relative Ingredient Values Compared to Corn
Corn 100
Bakery waste/cereal fines 105-110
Barley 90-95
Dried distillers grains 75-130
High-lysine corn 110-115
High-oil corn 110-115
NutriDense corn 110-115
Milo/sorghum 96
Oats 70-80
Rye 80-85
Soy Hulls 60-65
Triticale 95-105
Wheat 105-107
Wheat middlings 90-95


Table 2: Typical Maximum Usage Rates (%) for Common Energy Sources
Ingredient Starter G/F Gestation Lactation Limitation
Bakery waste, dehy 25 * * * High salt
Barley 25 * * 25 High fiber
Corn * * * * None
DDGS 20 20 30 5 Palatability
Corn gluten feed 5 10 * 5 High fiber
Corn, hominy feed 0 60 60 60 AA balance
Molasses 0 5 10 5 Low energy
Rye 0 25 25 10 Variability
Sorghum (milo) * * * * None
Soy hulls 5 10 20 0 Low energy
Triticale 10 * * 50 Variability
Wheat bran 0 10 30 10 Low energy
Wheat, hard * * * * None
Wheat middlings 5 25 * 5 Low energy
Wheat shorts 10 40 40 40 Variability
Tokach 2007


Table 3: Typical Maximum Usage Rates (%) for Common Protein Sources
Ingredient Starter G/F Gestation Lactation Limitation
Alfalfa meal, dehy 0 10 25 0 High Fiber
Canola meal 0 15 15 15 Anti-nutrition
Corn gluten meal 10 30 * 10 AA balance
Cottonseed meal 0 10 15 0 Low lysine
Meat and bone meal 5 5 10 5 High minerals
Meat meal 0 5 10 5 High minerals
SBM, extr/expelled * * * * None
Soybean, full-fat * * * * Overheating
Sunflower meal 0 20 * 0 Low energy
Yeast, brewers dried 5 10 10 10 Variability
Tokach 2007
  • How variable is the quality of the product as delivered and how will I deal with the variation?
  • In what form does the by-product come?
  • How does the ingredient impact diet flowability, bulk density and feed milling? For example, higher inclusion rates of DDGs will affect transportation. At 40 per cent inclusion, a 24-ton truck may only hold 18 to 22 tons of feed. This will increase transportation cost per ton of complete feed.
  • Is bin space available?
  • How will the ingredient impact growth performance and carcass parameters (leanness and fat quality)?
  • Will the product be available consistently at an economical price?
  • Do I save enough money for the added risk?

If you can answer these questions and you believe the risks are worth it, use alternatives. There may be many of opportunities available to you locally if you look for them. Monitor performance carefully and make adjustments quickly if you have to.

October 2008
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