By Bruce Cochrane
A researcher with the University of Alberta says the use of alternative feed ingredients can translate into substantial improvements in profitability.
As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc researchers are evaluating the inclusion of a host of alterative ingredients, including reduced quality cereal crops, various co-products and pulse crops, in rations for newly weaned pigs.
The work is driven by the desire to provide least cost diet formulations and achieve the lowest cost per unit of gain.
Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra, a professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences with the University of Alberta, says it's all dependant on ingredient prices.
Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra-University of Alberta:
If performance is equal, it's actually pretty straight forward to do an economic analysis.
For example, you look at the change in price of soybean meal and canola meal.
When we did the economic analysis for the study, when we completed that particular study we were looking at around a difference in 12 dollars per tonne of feed.
That equates with a 20 percent inclusion of canola meal to about $60 per tonne of canola meal.
Then when you make the translation to cost per pig, you end up with about a $2 advantage if you apply that knowledge for the entire growth cycle, so for the entire 100 kilogram growth cycle.
When you switch, for example, to a canola expeller which would have about 10 percent fat or a canola cake which would have around 15 to 20 percent fat, now because you add more energy in the ingredient now the advantage would be about $4 for expeller and $6 to $8 dollars for the cake.
It can be quite significant and this is per pig so if you have a load of pigs it can be quite attractive.
Dr. Zijlstra stresses the key is to maintain performance.
He says, when you can not maintain performance you may run into pigs that are not reaching market weight on time and then the market advantage will disappear quickly.