Each day across America, more than 6,200 animal food manufacturing facilities are quietly humming along, producing millions of tons of animal food to provide the right nutritional balance to keep the country’s livestock, poultry and pets happy and healthy. A recent study provided a comprehensive analysis of the ingredients used in the top livestock, poultry and aquaculture diets.
The Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER), the American Feed Industry Association’s public charity, recently quantified exactly how much the top nine livestock, poultry and aquaculture species consume throughout the various stages of their lives. Working with Decision Innovation Solutions (DIS), IFEEDER interviewed roughly 25 industry and university subject matter experts to determine the specific diets fed to animals at various stages of their lives and adjusted them for regional dietary differences, due to the availability of ingredients and best management practices. From there, they could use expert analysis to determine the species’ diets.
Overall, IFEEDER found that in 2016, approximately 236.3 million tons of animal food were fed to nine animal species, including: 74.7 million tons to cattle on feed; 56.3 million tons to broilers; and 46.3 million tons to hogs, the top three animal consumers. Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, North Carolina and Minnesota topped the list for the sheer amount of animal food consumed with 21.1 million tons, 17.3 million tons, 15.4 million tons, 12.6 million tons, and 11.3 million tons, respectively.
Corn, the most abundantly produced crop in the United States, made up slightly more than half of the total amount of animal food consumed, but when combined with soybean meal and dried distiller’s grains with solubles (DDGs), represented more than 75% of all feed tonnage provided in 2016. IFEEDER also reported on a number of other ingredients that are used in animal diets besides the top commodities. For instance, at least 1% of all tonnage fed to livestock and poultry in 2016 came from: wet distiller’s grains, bakery meal, corn gluten feed, cottonseed meal, wheat midds, grain sorghum, soybean hulls and oats.
Learn more about the feed produced and consumed in your state.