5 March 1999

Benefits of liquid waste

Pay more attention to liquid waste products or lose out to foreign competition, pig producers are warned.

Peter Brooks of Seale Hayne told delegates at a Nutec pig conference in Sutton Coldfield, Warks, that pig consumption of liquid feed in Holland has risen from 1.6m tonnes in 1993 to 2.3m tonnes in 1997 and supplies are running out.

"Currently, Holland is buying liquid products from Poland and France and is now looking at UK supplies."

He urged the industry to change its attitude. "By-product means waste, but they are more valuable than that. I prefer to use the term co-products; describing them as alternative feed products and not waste to be disposed of.

"As an industry, co-products are not used well. However, there are some individual pig producers who make good use of them and reduce costs as a result."

According to Prof Brooks, MLC data shows feed cost/kg gain for co-product feeders to be 35p compared with 41.5p for home-mixers and 45p for compound feeders.

Despite cost advantages there are many reasons why co-product use has been restricted. But Prof Brooks said that some of the perceived weaknesses of liquid diets were actually strengths.

Liquid feeding systems need sophisticated equipment for feeding and storage on farm and this requires heavy investment, he said. "Often this is too much for the small producer, but this capital outlay can be offset in large units which are better placed to make use of tanker loads of liquid."

But because of the way they are produced, co-product supply is not equally distributed. This means it is only available to pig producers who live nearby to these sites, which does not always correspond to centres of pig production.

Co-product supply also varies, he said. "You also never know what you will be feeding next week. This combined with the variations in dry matter and protein means a consultant nutritionist is required.

"For example, milk waste could be anything from tank washings to yogurt past its sell-by date."

Therefore diets should be formulated on a tank-by-tank basis and changed regularly, he said. "But tweaking diets should be seen as a benefit and not a downside, because this could improve feeding to match pigs needs."

Prof Brooks said there are still too many single diets being fed to pigs from 30-90kg. Excess protein in diets as pigs become bigger is wasteful and it also increases nitrogen waste producing more effluent.

There are also environmental reasons for using liquid feeds. These drive its widespread use to such a high level in Holland. "The use of co-products reduces processing which saves non-renewable energy use, reduces disposal costs and demand for landfill.

"We dry products, such as fishmeal and theres no point. All it does is create extra environmental waste." &#42

Consider feeding by- or co-products to help cut costs, says Peter Brooks.


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