Have you ever sat in your local small town coffee shop and over heard the farmers talking? They throw around some pretty confusing words if you’re not up on the “Farmer Speak”. For example, you might hear things like, “I cross bred my york to a cheshire and boy, she had some beuts!” or “I forward contracted 300 bushels of corn and I’m so glad that I did now seeing these markets, ofta!” or “We’re feeding a higher ration of DDG’s this time around” — Hold it!! DDGS? What on earth are DDGS?
DDGS is something we feed our hogs on a daily basis. It stands for Dried Distillers Grain with Solubles. DDGS is made from corn and comes out of the ethanol making process. When corn gets taken to the ethanol plant by farmers, the ethanol plant only uses the starch from the corn. Because the ethanol plant only uses the starch, there are left over elements from the kernels of corn. Those leftovers (or bi products) are minerals, oils, protein and fiber. This is what the DDGS are made from, all of those important nutrients in a pigs diets. Not only are the DDGS used in pig feed, but they can be used in beef, dairy, and poultry feed rations as well.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about this on my blog, but Andrew and our family are independent pork producers. That means we own everything in the entire process, from the sow to the market pig that gets taken to the packing plant.
BETTER WAY OF RAISING?
I grew up on a different hog farm, where my dad was a contracted pork producer. That means that my dad doesn’t “own” any of the pigs he is raising. A company pays my dad rent on the hog barn and extra to cover other costs associated with this type of hog farming. Essentially, my dad only owns the building. Is there a better way to raise hogs, being a contracted grower or a independent? — I don’t think so. There are definitely pros and cons to both ways.
MIXING IT UP
Anyway, (now that I’m done straying off what this post was originally supposed to be about) Andrew mixes his own feed. Andrew has to mix feed averaging at least once a day right now for his pigs. (How cool is that?!) That means every once in a awhile Andrew and/or my father or brother in law will have to go get DDGS from an ethanol plant to mix into the feed.
There are lots of different components that go into our hog feed, and DDGS only play a small part. Stay tuned for posts talking about how we feed the corn we raise in our fields to our hogs, and how soybeans play a part in raising hogs as well.
PS.. harvest is coming!! Stay with me for updates on that as well!
Love to all-Nicole