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Alternative feed ingredients save feed costs when used effectively

Swine nutritionist says the use of alternative feed ingredients can help pork producers reduce their feed costs while maintaining animal performance and meat quality.

12 April 2019, at 11:07a.m.

Pork producers have been expanding their use of the by-products produced through the processing of various grains and oilseeds.

Dr Denise Beaulieu, an Assistant Professor of monogastric nutrition with the University of Saskatchewan's College of Agriculture and Bioresources, says the main reason for this increased reliance on alternative feed ingredients is cost.

Dr Beaulieu explains: “We can usually get these ingredients at a much lower cost than the primary ingredients and, as we learn more about these ingredients, we are able to incorporate them into our rations with some confidence that we can use them very cost effectively and maintain performance.

“The main alternative ingredients are those that are derived from milling, for example wheat by-products or by-products of bioethanol production, such as DDGS.

“The key challenges of using these alternative feed ingredients is primarily variability. They tend to be a little bit variable in terms of quality and the nutrient content. This is because they are obtained from different industries. It’s really important for a producer to have the basic nutrients analysed when he's using them.

“Another challenge could be for example, that mycotoxins or antinutrients are often concentrated in these ingredients so there again it would be important for a producer to analyse and make sure that the ingredients that he or she is using are free of those antinutrient factors.”

Dr Beaulieu says that even though these ingredients can be a lot cheaper, producers need to consider other factors such as the cost of further processing and nutrient analysis.