feed manufacturers and producers globally measure and lower the carbon footprint of their feed . Feeds EA™ measures the environmental impact of feed production at the feed mill level by assessing the effects of existing compounds or blends . This is determined by calculating the greenhouse gas emissions from production , cultivation , processing , energy utilization and transportation in feed manufacturing . Feeds EA™ can calculate emissions from a database of more than 300 ingredients , including raw materials , soya products , byproducts and additives .
By reducing food waste through circular agriculture-type initiatives , we can be confident about the resilience of our food production systems to embrace more efficient resource utilization . This is exemplified in initiatives such as the supplementation of byproducts to ruminants and closing nutrient loops . By lowering food loss and waste in our livestock production systems in a verifiable way , we can continue to make a strong case for the sustainable solutions our industry offers in slowing the pace of climate change .
Precision agriculture and its application to animal nutrition has been proven , in recent Alltech metaanalyses on dairy ( Salami et al ., 2021
) and beef research ( Salami et al ., 2020
), to lower environmental impact through improved nitrogen utilization in ruminant systems . Optigen ®
supplementation in dairy diets was shown to :
• Improve nitrogen utilization efficiency in dairy cattle
by 4 %, thanks to better nitrogen capture in the rumen .
• Reduce manure nitrogen excretion by 12 – 13 g of nitrogen / cow / day .
This data suggests , for example , that the use of Optigen could reduce the annual manure nitrogen excretion from the U . S . dairy sector by an average of 51,509 metric tons , based on the annual milk output .
Simply put , this approach is trying to provide “ the right amount of nitrogen at the right time in the right place ” to help in reducing waste on-farm . Results from the meta-analysis also showed that the use of Optigen in dairy diets resulted in carbon savings of around 54 g of CO2e per kg of milk . When extrapolated to the annual milk output of the German dairy sector , for example , this would be equivalent to a carbon emission reduction of 1.8 million metric tons of CO2e . Such carbon savings represent 16 % of the entire reduction target for German agriculture by 2030 .
A simulation analysis based on the results of the metaanalysis indicated that feeding Optigen to 1,000 dairy cows would :
• Increase income over feed costs by $ 18,000 .
• Reduce the carbon footprint of the herd by 647 metric tons of CO2e . That carbon reduction is equivalent to taking 424 cars off the road or 436 houses worth of electricity usage .
NEW CHALLENGES AND
Remember when you could not wait for 2021? Our expectations were that life
would return to normal and the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic would be
behind us. Stable ingredient prices and better market access and pricing were
on most pork producers’ wish lists for 2021. However, the new year brought with it
a rude awakening; much higher ingredient prices resulted in slim profit margins,
even with better market prices.
Pork producers realize that there are always new
challenges, and one of the primary challenges today is
feed costs. If we compare corn and soybean meal costs
from January 2020 to January 2021, the increase for those
ingredients alone is $15–20 per head. Even with higher
pig prices, farmers’ margins are being squeezed. As we
work through this scenario with pig farmers, several
considerations need to be evaluated for each farm.
The first area to address is grow-finish diet formulas. There
may be an opportunity to increase the amount of amino
acids added to the diets and to subsequently decrease
soybean meal. However, research from Hubbard Feeds
has shown that it is crucial for the other amino acids
important for rapid and efficient growth to be in balance,
or performance will decrease more than the value of the
feed cost savings. The amount of added amino acids is
limited in the early grower period to prevent the levels of
isoleucine and valine from becoming too low to achieve
best performance. Conversely, Hubbard research has
shown that a minimum of 12% crude protein results in
improved performance in late finishers. Fortunately,
four amino acids are cost-effective and can be added to
grower and finisher diets.
The next area to evaluate is feed efficiency. First, adjust
your feeders to 50–70% pan coverage to limit waste
without limiting the feed intake necessary for optimal
growth. Second, monitor particle size. Decreasing the
particle size by 100 microns will improve feed efficiency
by around 1%. Targeting the standard particle size
deviation to be close to 2.0 will result in more uniformity
for improved feed handling and intake. Finally, consider
the energy level of the diet and the use of fat. When corn
and fat prices were lower, many farms added fat to their
finisher diets. Fat, however, has also increased in price
and may not be an economical energy source right now.
Typically, in cooler weather and in barns where pigs are
not crowded, fat is worth up to four times the cost of corn.
Here’s a simple example: If corn is $5.60 per bushel, that
is $0.10 per pound. If fat is $0.45 per pound, that would
make the ratio of fat to corn price 4.5:1 — or above the
level of fat that is considered economical to use. While
fat may not be economical now, when the hot weather
of summer comes, fat has more value and should be
The price of DDGS has increased, as would be expected
with an increase in corn cost. Hubbard Feeds has a
DDGS dashboard that gives us guidance on the amount
of DDGS that make economic sense in this market.
Depending on the prices for corn, soybean meal, fat
and amino acids, as well as the availability of fat and
tryptophan, the return for using 10% DDGS can vary from
a loss of approximately $1 per pig to a gain of $1 per pig.
Returns using DDGS are farm-specific, depending on
each farm’s ingredient costs, so reach out to a Hubbard
Feeds representative if you’d like an evaluation of DDGS
usage for your farm.
THE FEEDING TIMES
Once we work through diet opportunities, we turn to
feed budgets. Pigs are growing very well on the 2020
corn crop; test weights on corn are high and mycotoxins
are generally lower this year. This is great for farms but
may end up increasing the feed cost per pig. Check your
feed usage to ensure that the pigs are moving through
the feed budget into the last diet before marketing. If
the pigs are getting very little of the last-phase diet, the
feed budget can be adjusted to shift some of the pounds
from the earlier diets to the lower-cost later diets. Closely
scrutinizing the feed budget and making sure that pigs
are receiving the correct amounts can be a relatively easy
way to reduce feed costs. opportunities to decrease their daily feed intake a bit
during gestation. Check their body condition again every
two weeks and make further adjustments based on your
observations. Decreasing gestation feed by 1 to 2 pounds
per week for over-conditioned sows could save you $2–5
in feed costs per sow per turn.
What about a technology that can help improve gains
and gut condition as we head toward higher market
prices and summer temperatures? Hemorrhagic bowel
syndrome is more prevalent in the summer months and,
unfortunately, often strikes the fast-growing, heavier pigs.
Hubbard Assist, a yeast-based product, was designed
to decrease death losses from hemorrhagic bowel
syndrome and increase daily gains. This allows farms to
sell more pigs and more pounds, which is beneficial —
especially going into higher markets. Dr. Stewart Galloway received a bachelor’s degree in
farm operations, a master’s degree in swine nutrition
and a Ph.D. in nutritional
physiology, all from Iowa
State University. He provides
technical support for swine
programs and products at
Lastly, don’t forget about sows. Monitor their body
condition. We are observing herds with increasing body
condition scores. This may relate to the better-quality
corn, similarly to what we see with gains in finishers.
Check the body condition of your sows and look for
SUMMER ISSUE – JUNE 2021
The new year may not have started off the way we wished
it might, but paying attention to a few details — like
diet formulation, feed budgeting and health — can help
producers adapt and make the most of the situation. The
resilience we displayed in 2020 will serve us well in 2021.
Dr. Galloway’s interests
programs and serving as
part of a consulting team for
producers. He enjoys working directly with producers to
find solutions to needs with integrity and accuracy.
on beef research highlighted how the
10 THE FEEDING TIMES