3249 views 6 commentsupdate:Sep 17, 2012

How to combat high feed prices

The price of animal feed commodities hit an all-time record high. The price of major ingredients has gone beyond any reasonable expectation.

In the meantime, the most severe drought in half a century has occurred in the US Midwest’s corn and soybean growing region which adversely affects crop production. The United States is the world's largest producer and exporter of corn and soybeans thus, the decline in the US production pushes up the global feed prices. Understandably, whenever commodity prices take an upturn, interest increases in using alternative ingredients that may help blunt the upsurge in feed costs.

Alternative ingredients are commonly known as non-conventional energy and protein sources (Peanut meal, bakery meal…) which can partially replace corn and/or soybean in the diet. Alternative ingredients are usually available in limited supplies and on a local basis. When commodity prices are high, the price of some alternative ingredients closely correlates with the price of major ingredients.

For instance, DDGS has usually been priced at 60-80% of the price of corn but with drought issue in the corn growing region, it is being priced about 90-100% of the value of corn. Meanwhile, the possibility of on-the-farm processing of local by-products/waste materials converted into cost-effective alternative ingredients seems underestimated.

Large poultry operations have the potential to produce quality ingredients from waste materials. Integrated poultry companies usually deal with a considerable quantity of waste material such as carcass processing waste, feathers, hatchery waste, egg shell, infertile eggs, spent hens, dead birds… which are usually disposed at a cost.

These waste materials can be processed locally using high-shear extrusion technology. This extrusion method is a high-pressure, high-temperature, and fast cooking approach with sterilisation, stabilisation, and dehydration functions. The technology has been around since the late 60s. It is simple, affordable, and does not need a large amount of capital investment. The extruded materials can further be used as a high quality ingredient in the diet.

Over the past two decades, numerous research projects have focused on developing novel ingredients from waste material. A study by Ohio State University showed that the nutritional value and amino acid digestibility of whole hen mortality co-extruded with either corn or wheat (mixing ratio of 25:75) is comparatively better than that of meat and bone meal.   

In brief, large poultry operations can combat high feed prices by converting local by-products/waste materials into quality ingredients. Depending on its nutritional value, the novel ingredients can partially replace corn and/or soybean in the diet.


  • no-profile-image


    Rising feed cost and feed ingredients is nothing new to the industry due to various calamities, drought, politics and yield due to poor harvest, pests etc. Every time when a problem of this nature occurs the suggestion is to use non conventional feed stuffs. Very often materials which are not available are suggested to use .DDGS as said the cost is high 70-80% to the value of corn and since there is shortage of corn the price goes up. Non conventional feed stuffs also have poor nutritional values and we have to add replacement costs like amino acids extra energy in order to balance up the ration. All this costs extra to the cost of feed.No one ever comes to suggest the cost of the feed has a direct impact on the cost of production of meat and eggs and farmers have to be paid extra cost for what is being produced.Farmers are supressed everywhere and they dont get a good deal for their products.It is high time that research workers come out with costings on using nonconventional feed stuffs as against corn soya diets or any others.
    Research workers should also encourage on any new technologies that are available in the usage of non conventional feed stuffs.Suggestion something is good and giving solutions to a problem is another.Let us be more practical.

  • no-profile-image


    I endorse the comments of Dr.V.Raghavan.
    Every time the prices of Soya and Corn goes beyond economical incorporation level in formulation we start talking about alternate sources. I feel the current crisis is more of political creation and or result of forward trading,ignoring domestic interests/livestock Industry.May be it is duty of decision makers to generate income through increased nutritious food production,value addition and exports rather give preference to exports of critical ingredients at the cost of domestic requirements.
    Lack of data bank is another big problem
    Interested parties take due advantage of poor statistics of production VS actual requirement and exports quantities much beyond safer limits.By the time consumer starts realizing due to sudden price increase the damage is already done and shortage takes place.Farmer too is not benefited as the produce is lifted and well stored immediately after the harvest at lowest or MSP in the godowns of respective industry. Please give a thought?

  • FrankNouwens

    sourcing of alternative feed components is a topic we all should encourage. however it does not directly counter the rising feed prices of this moment. the farmer should prioritize and focus on improving his own farm production. think about a better bio-security to lower medication costs or improve FCR to create more product out of the same amount of feed. it is always wise to look for other suppliers which offer a better price/quality for all what is used at the farm. if the farmer first takes a mirror to look at his own farm and improves the parts where he can benefit. I am sure he creates financial space to compensate the high feed prices for now. not to forget, a better running farm at the same costs

  • Comment deleted by a moderator


    I do agree with Dr. Raghavan's statement and we should focus on practical ways of addressing the issues.

  • abdelseed ahmed

    Whenever I read an article concerning alternatives of nutrition due to the uprizing prices of feed ingredients people talk about DDGs as if it is available all over the world . This is not the case and even the DDGs in the countries that produce it the produced quantities are not in large amounts that could satisfy the requirements quantity or price wise so being reasonable and practical in addressing such cases is a must .

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