October 20, 2021

A look into low-cost feed formulation in China

A eFeedLink Hot Topic


Several factors this year are pressuring animal producers in China to look into low-cost feed formulation options: the continuing decline in swine prices as corn and soymeal prices continue their uptrend; fluctuations in the prices of feed additives due to power rationing.

In April the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued the "Technical plan for reducing and replacing corn and soymeal in swine and poultry feed". The plans aims to develop a formulation structure for daily diets suitable for China's local production conditions, securing the supplies of feed raw materials.

Replacement of energy feeds such as corn in diets are relatively straightforward. From January 2020 to date, utilisation of alternative feeds such as wheat, barley and sorghum have grown progressively at the expense of corn. In particular for wheat, utilisation of corn by feed mills fell to a 20-year low to about five million tonnes, while that of wheat rose 50-fold to nearly the same level.

Similar trends are however not observed for protein grains such as soymeal. This is because unlike independent, large farms, most small to medium farms have not developed raw material databases which are key for precision nutrition and minimising protein use.

That said, in 2020 the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs developed an independent nutrient database for feed ingredients, marking a major shift away from China's reliance on foreign databases. The move enabled technical solutions for reducing corn and soymeal in swine and poultry feed. Leading Chinese enterprises including CP Group, Tieqilishi Group and Wellhope Foods were reported to have benefited from this initiative.

Besides the role of precision nutrition in low-cost feed formulation, at a webinar this September, Chinese feed producer Anyou Biotechnology Group underscored the huge potential for further cost reduction through minimising feed wastage. The company illustrated great disparities between actual and potential swine performance parameters seen in the industry – Body weight on day 21 post-weaning: 6 vs. 10kg; Grower pig body weight: 25 vs. 40kg; Finisher pig body weight on day 150: 85 vs. 120kg; feed-to-meat ratio: 2.0 vs. 3.0; PSY (piglets per sow per year): 18 vs. 40 – attributing these to sub-optimal breed, environmental, farm and disease management. Accordingly, it was suggested that the use of alternative, quality feed ingredients can help ameliorate the effects of sub-optimal management.


- written by Tao SHI, translated by Ngai Meng CHAN


The print version of this article appears in LIVESTOCK & FEED Business November issue.

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