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8 guidelines to economical feed ingredient selections

00:00AM Sep 08, 2008

With volatile feed costs, it is an increasing challenge for producers to manage their bottom line and selecting the right ingredients is essential in providing animals with proper nutrition.

Dan Schimek, a nutritionist with Hubbard Feeds, offers the following guidelines to help producers make educated decisions when selecting feed ingredients.

  1. Consult your nutritionist to design a program that fits your operation. Each herd has unique nutritional requirements and a nutritionist can tailor fit a program to progress towards your operational goals.
  2. Look at feeds as nutrients rather than feeds. For example, look at replacing protein sources rather than replacing soybean meal with distillers grains. An alternative diet can be effective as long as the nutrients are meeting the livestock's requirement.
  3. Build your nutrition program around your homegrown feeds. By utilizing these low cost sources, the total feed cost is lowered.
  4. Take advantage of byproduct feeds available from ethanol, sugar, brewing, canning industries and other sources. Some of these byproducts include distillers grains, brewers grain and beet pulp.
  5. Be sure to consider the location of the plant and feed mill to avoid high transportation costs. This becomes especially important when wet feeds are being considered.
  6. Building relationships are key to finding the best value on feed. Some of the best people to know are plant personnel and independent trucking companies who are hired to remove feed from plants and often sell it for a discounted rate.
  7. When opportunity allows, go directly to the plant to attain discounts for purchasing larger quantities.
  8. During colder months, wet feeds have an extended shelf life in the freezer-like conditions. Smaller operations are able to enhance their use of these feeds during this time.

For questions or comments, contact Beef Today.