ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

With corn prices up, pigs switch to fatty snacks

by 5m Editor
22 May 2007, at 10:12am

US - When Alfred Smith’s hogs eat trail mix, they usually shun the Brazil nuts.

“Pigs can be picky eaters,” Smith says, scooping a handful of banana chips, yogurt-covered raisins, dried papaya and cashews from one of the 12 one-ton boxes in his shed. Generally, he says, “they like the sweet stuff.”

Smith is just happy his pigs aren’t eating him out of house and home. Growing demand for corn-based ethanol, a biofuel that has surged in popularity over the past year, has pushed up the price of corn, Smith’s main feed, to near-record levels. Because feed represents farms’ biggest single cost in raising animals, farmers are serving them a lot of people food, since it can be cheaper.

Besides trail mix, pigs and cattle are downing cookies, licorice, cheese curls, candy bars, french fries, frosted wheat cereal and peanut-butter cups. Some farmers mix chocolate powder with cereal and feed it to baby pigs. “It’s kind of like getting Cocoa Puffs,” says David Funderburke, a livestock nutritionist at Cape Fear Consulting in Warsaw, N.C., who helps Smith and other farmers formulate healthy diets for livestock.

California farmers are feeding farm animals grape skins from vineyards and lemon pulp from citrus groves. Cattle ranchers in spud-rich Idaho are buying truckloads of uncooked french fries, tater tots and hash browns.

Source: Wvgazette.com

5m Editor