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Ethanol Production Sparks Hog Issues

Increased ethanol production is good news for corn farmers, but that may not be the case for hog farmers, says Gary Allee, University of Missouri animal scientist.

Government incentives and high gasoline prices are causing ethanol producers to distill more corn, which is also a main ingredient in hog diets, he says.

“We have developed a pig and poultry industry in this country based on feeding corn and soybean meal. In my opinion, that is about to change because of our current energy policy,” says Alley.

Because ethanol producers may bid up the price of a bushel of corn, “this turns (livestock feeders) world upside down.”

Alley is studying ways to use an ethanol by-product, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in swine diets. DDGS is a fiber, protein and fat product left after the starch in corn is fermented into ethanol.

DDGS supplies are projected to exceed 7.7 million tons this year. The beef and dairy industries use about 80%, but the product is very limiting in its availability to the swine industry because DDGS is high in fiber content and deficient in amino acids.

In his research, Alley fed pigs weighing 25 to 55 lb. a corn-soy diet and DDGS from 5 to 40%. “We found that we could feed up to 20% of the DDGS and not have a detrimental effect on performance,” he says.

For pigs weighing 55-280 lb., only 10% DDGS could be added to the diet.

Unlike ruminants, pigs don’t readily consume distiller’s grain. Expect reduced feed intake during the first two or three weeks that DDGS is fed to pigs, he adds.

TAGS: Nutrition