With volatile feed costs, it is an increasing challenge for producers to manage their bottom line. Selecting the right ingredients has always been essential in providing animals with proper nutrition. Making the correct ingredient decisions is even more critical for operations to stay as efficient as possible. By making well-informed ingredient decisions, producers are able to keep their animals healthy and garner more dollars down the road.

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

8 Guidelines

  • Consult a nutritionist to design a program that fits the operation. Each herd has unique nutritional requirements and a nutritionist can tailor fit a program to progress toward the operational goals.
  • Look at feeds as nutrients rather than feeds. For example, look at replacing protein sources rather than replacing soybean meal with distiller’s grains. An alternative diet can be effective as long as the nutrients are meeting the livestock’s requirement.
  • Build a nutrition program around homegrown feeds. By utilizing these low-cost sources, the total feed cost is lowered.
  • Take advantage of by-product feeds available from ethanol, sugar, brewing, canning industries and other sources. Some of these byproducts include distiller’s grains, brewer’s grain and beet pulp.
  • Consider the location of the plant and feed mill to avoid high transportation costs. This is especially important when wet feeds are being considered.
  • 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.
  • When opportunity allows, go directly to the plant to attain discounts for purchasing larger quantities.
  • 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 more information, visit www.hubbardfeeds.com.