US pig farmers might quit as corn prices rise
The higher feed prices, as a result of the soaring
demand for corn will put some pig producers out of business. This was the
message heard at the Iowa Pork Congress, US, earlier this week.
"Right now (pork producers) are operating in the red,"
said Carol Stevens of Fordyce, Nebraska. "There's no profit in livestock now
because of the cost of grain."
Neil Dierks, chief executive officer
of National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in Iowa's capital of Des Moines,
agreed that many producers are struggling. "Right now most hog farmers are in
the break-even range and some producers will opt to quit the
The situation could ease as more
farmers rely more on an ethanol-production byproduct called distillers grains as
animal feed. Most farmers already feed their pigs between 10 to 20% of
distillers grains along with conventional corn, Shurson said at the Pork
Shurson said distillers' energy value is equal to
corn, but there may be concerns about them being high in fat and having lower
amounts of protein. Others are concerned that the price of distillers is also
rising and is comparable to the price of corn.
More studies needed
John Bruellman, a pig farmer from
Ottosen in North Central Iowa, said more studies need to be done before pig
farmers use higher percentages of distillers in their feed. He said he had
problems pumping out manure from hogs that ate feed containing distillers. He
also said distillers were difficult to grind with other grains in making
Ryan Sauer, distillers manager for Iowa Falls-based Hawkeye
Renewables, said Iowa stands a good chance to double its distillers production
this year, making the alternative feed source more
For now, farmers are
coming up with their own answers. Bruellman said he relies heavily on corn he
grows himself for feed and expects more hog farmers to do the
â€¢ Iowa Pork Congress
â€¢ Iowa State University
â€¢ Iowa Renewable Fuels Association
â€¢ National Pork Producers Council
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