The Feed Cost Focus Group, a group of 13 producer, industry, Agriculture Department and academic nutritionist representatives met this spring at the National Pork Board offices to set research priorities for dealing with the continuing problem of high feed costs.

The group set research priorities on reducing feed costs and identifying gaps in current research. The top five feed-cost reduction priorities are:

  1. Use low-energy ingredients (to reduce dependence on corn), such as low-carbohydrate or low-fat ingredients.
  2. Increase nutrient extraction from ingredients to maintain growth and caloric efficiency in nutrient-deficit diets.
  3. Validate predictive equations for net energy of ingredients under commercial conditions.
  4. Improve processing methods to increase the nutrient utilization of cereal grains and coproducts.
  5. Understand the impact of disease on growth and caloric efficiency.

“The group’s priorities will help guide funding for the next several years, including a $550,000 checkoff investment designated for feed-cost reduction science in 2011,” says Mark Knauer, Pork Checkoff director of animal science.

For more information, contact Knauer at mknauer@pork.org or (515) 223-2606.