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Use of alternative feed stuffs helps lower cost of feeding swine

The program director with the Banff Pork Seminar says the willingness of pork producers to explore alternative feed ingredients has helped ease the problem of high feed costs.

The Banff Pork Seminar is slated for January 21 to 23 at the Banff Centre.

The economic state of the Canadian pork industry will be among the “Hot Topics” discussed as part of this year’s Boar Pit Session.

Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra, an animal science professor with the University of Alberta and 2014 Banff Pork Seminar program director, says, while feed ingredient costs have fallen from the peaks of 2012 and 2013, they’re still higher than the long term average.

My own personal research program and interest is on the feed cost side and what we’ve seen there is we continue to have high but not as high feed costs.

The most immediate pressure that was there in late 2012 and early 2013, some of that has been released but still when you look long term compared to ten years ago feed costs continue to be much higher than long term averages here in western Canada.

Feed costs as a percentage of variable cost, you’re looking at 70 to 80 percent of variable costs so it will always be a very important component of cost in the swine industry.

Partly due to people becoming a little bit willing to take a bit more risk with the wider variety of feed stuffs to be included in swine diets and also by research that carefully characterizes the new feed stuffs that could be used, looking at much higher inclusion levels of co-products for example, partially alleviated this problem of feed costs but feed costs continue to be higher than long term averages.

Dr. Zijlstra says the hope is that feed costs will continue to decline and that producers will continue to look carefully at what feed stuffs can be included in pig diets so that overall we end up with a very economical sustainable swine industry system in western Canada.

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