As feed feedstock costs rise, it becomes more critical for producers to study non-traditional feedstock carefully. Fortunately, there are many options for reducing the cost of a diet by changing ingredients and devising new diets.

Add DDGS to the diet

Although the cost of distilled dry grain and sol (DDGS) has increased over the past six months, there are still significant cost savings to be achieved by using DDGS in pig diets, Sulabo said.

At current prices for corn, soybean meal and DDGS, adding 10% of DDGS to pig diets would reduce costs by $7 to $9 per ton. In most cases, if DDGS of average or above-average quality are used and all nutrients in the diet are properly balanced, 30% of DDGS can be included in the diet for all types of pigs. If 30% of DDGS is included in the diet of sows, weaned pigs, and growing-refined pigs, the total cost savings for producing a market pig using DDGS is approximately $10.

Use small grains when conditions permit

If there are small grains, the price of these grains should be closely watched, as they can substitute for all or most of the corn in the diet used to feed all types of pigs.

Wheat is a good choice

Wheat, which has a slightly higher nutritional value than corn in the pig diet, can easily replace all the corn in the diet. “On a bushel basis, producers can pay 25 to 50 cents more for wheat than for corn without increasing the cost of the diet.”

Barley and sorghum can also replace all or most of the corn in all pig diets, and these grains have similar nutritional value to corn. But since barley has fewer pounds per bushel than corn, the cost of barley should not exceed 85 to 90 percent of the cost of corn per bushel.

Oats can replace 40 percent of corn in the diet used to feed all types of pigs, and can be easily used if oats are available. However, oats are lower in weight and energy concentration in bushels than corn, so oats should only be bought (on a bushel basis) if the price is less than 80% of corn.

Look at other cooperative products

In some areas, pig producers receive by-products such as livestock feed, bread flour or wheat intermediates. Each of these ingredients can be added to up to 30% of the pig’s diet. If these ingredients can be purchased for about 90% or less of the price of corn, the cost of daily food can usually be reduced.

The quality of these materials varies, so it is important to work with suppliers to ensure acceptable quality.

Use fishmeal substitutes

In recent years, as the amount of fishing decreased, the demand for fish meal increased in the aquatic feed industry, and the cost of fish meal rose sharply.

The existing alternatives are enzyme-treated soybean meal, fermented soybean meal, enzyme-treated pig intestines, poultry by-product meal, meat and bone meal and blood meal.

Weaned pigs usually perform well when fed these protein sources instead of fish meal. Pigs have no special requirements for fish meal, so it should be reduced or avoided to add this ingredient.

Elimination of inorganic phosphorus

Pigs need dietary phosphorus, and because phosphorus present in corn and soybean meal is poorly utilized by pigs, diets are often fortified with dicalcium phosphate or monocalcium phosphate.

However, the rising price of these phosphate sources has led more producers to use phytase in pig diets. By using phytase, a larger proportion of phosphorus in corn and soybean meal can be utilized to reduce the demand for inorganic phosphorus.

If the diet contains DDGS, the need for inorganic phosphorus is also reduced because the high digestible phosphorus concentration in DDGS is relatively high. If phytase and DDGS are used at the same time, dicalcium phosphate or monocalcium phosphate are not required in the diets of weaned pigs or growing pigs after 25 kg.

The elimination of inorganic phosphorus from the diet would significantly reduce the total cost of the diet.

Tips to reduce swine feeding costs