Industry experts offer tips for surviving high feed prices

Tools to maximize feed efficiency, quality keys to success

The poultry industry may not see the dire predictions of $10-per-bushel corn come true, but the days of $3 corn are also in the past and adjustments will have to be made, according to Gerald Weigel, a nutrition and feel ingredient consultant who spoke at Industry Outlook 2012 at the International Poultry Expo and International Feed Expo on January 23.

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During the presentation and panel discussion, sponsored by Kemin, Weigel said that 2012 will see corn prices averaging in the $6-per-bushel range. But he also said that other factors are changing in corn. “Corn is going to have higher starch, lower protein and lower bushel weights in the future,” said Weigel.

Peter Ferket, professor of nutrition and biotechnology at North Carolina State University, discussed new tools that are available to both nutritionists and feed manufacturers and how they can be used to gain more efficiency from high-priced feed, especially during the pelleting process. “This is a challenging time, but also an exciting time,” said Ferket. “We can use the tools we have available to us and have fun meeting this challenge.”

Keith Behnke, professor emeritus from Kansas State University, focused on feed quality. According to Behnke, there is nothing we can to at the feed mill to improve the quality of feed ingredients, but good-quality pellets will give a 5-percent to 7-percent improvement in feed efficiency. The other key for feed mill operators is to use today’s sampling technology to full advantage, to do as much real-time sampling as possible.

Watch and listen to Weigel give panel attendees an idea of what to expect for corn prices in the coming year in this video.