Time to dredge up the past again. There’s been another surge of interest by several Oregon farmers to get into growing some of their own grain for feed. No wonder, as feed prices have more than doubled since we started doing chickens, and while the commodity insanity of the last year is taking a breather, there’s no reason to think that it won’t resume again once the zombie banks and crooked investment vehicles are finally taken out back and shot.
The critical shortage that I see in a western OR-produced chicken feed is the availability of a few critical proteins that our climate doesn’t produce very well, at least vegetatively. Rebecca goes into this in good detail.
There’s a pretty big movement to get people and their animals off of soy products for both health and environmental reasons. Not to mention the Soylandia effect with it’s habitat, energy, and national security implications. Soy is quite a crutch, and a hard habit to break, since it’s a very nutrient-dense food that fills a lot of nutritional holes with it’s near complete protein complement. The downside for us is that feed-grade soy doesn’t do very well in our cooler summer climate. Assuming that animal products aren’t going to be used to fill out the ration, I’ll be interested to see what folks come up with.