By Rick Lundquist
The combination of potentially moldy corn contaminated with mycotoxins and the stubborn corn market, have prompted questions from clients lately as to whether they should consider feeding hominy instead of corn grain.
Hominy, or more accurately, hominy feed is a byproduct of dry corn milling. Dry millers make corn grits, corn meal, corn flour and corn oil. Corn grits, sometimes called hominy, are degermed corn. Hominy is corn soaked in lye water. Both of these products are for human consumption and shouldn’t be confused with hominy feed. Since hominy feed is a byproduct of the food industry, it’s less likely to be contaminated with mycotoxins than corn that has not been screened.
Since it is a byproduct, the nutrient content of hominy feed can vary. A typical guaranteed analysis is not less than 8% crude protein and 4% fat and not more than 12.5% moisture and 7% crude fiber. But hominy feed will vary from mill to mill. It usually runs 10-11% protein. Hominy feed is higher in neutral detergent fiber (NDF) than corn, so it is lower in non fiber carbohydrates (NFC). Hence, it works well in corn silage based rations.
I have compared hominy feed from various mills and found that fat and starch content vary the most. Since we are feeding hominy feed as a corn replacement, the starch content and variability should be the most important considerations when balancing rations with it. Starch tests varied between about 60% of the starch content of corn to almost as high as corn. Hominy feed is processed and ground relatively fine, so the starch that’s in it should be readily available.
The key to reducing the variability in hominy feed is to get it from the same mill all the time. There are certain mills in the country that always make the same products (i.e. corn meal). These mills should put out a consistent hominy feed as well. However, hominy feed is a byproduct, so for example, if a load of corn is rejected for making their food product, it could be dumped in the hominy feed bin. So there’s no guarantee that its always mold and mycotoxin free.
Hominy feed prices don’t necessarily follow the corn market. They also depend on the production volume of the corn mill, availability of trucking or rail, freight rates and exports.
--Rick Lundquist is an independent nutrition and management consultant based in Duluth, Minn. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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