Don’t Get Too Fancy: Basics Always Matter

From World Poultry:

Poultry and pig producers who don’t test the new corn crop before feeding it are taking a risk this year, said Purdue University experts. Due to wet harvest conditions mould in corn is present in much of the Midwest crop.

This reminds me of something that I’ve seen over and over in the alternative foods movement: people take basics like moisture control for granted, and obsess instead over concerns that are trendier but less important.

You can make your livestock a lot sicker with moldy corn than GMO corn, and no doubt plenty of people are doing this right now. Poorly handled grain is bad news, regardless of how good it looks on paper.

I like to run my hands through grain, given the chance. You’d be surprised how much it varies. Some grain is moldy, some smells terrible, some is runty and full of straw and other contaminants, and some is pretty as a picture.

All of this means that your feed recipe means a lot less than you’d think. Whether the feed mill will take your top-notch recipe and turn out good feed or a travesty depends on their competence and good will, which vary all over the map.

In general, my experience is that organically certified grain makes a poorer showing when you do this than conventional grain. Less competition means that suppliers can get away with sloppiness and sharp practices, so they do. And a lot of buyers put more faith in certification than in the evidence of their own senses, so they don’t notice.

With mixed feed, I like to smell and taste it. Feed should not taste bad. It’s okay for it to be bland, but off-tastes are a flashing “do not buy” sign. Same goes for pet food, by the way.

We should all be careful to descend from the realm of theory and put our senses to work. Farming is a full-body experience, especially for our livestock!

I Publish Books! Norton Creek Press

Thoughts? Questions? Comments?

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

Author: Robert Plamondon

Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

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