New turkey feed to eat away costs

Monday, November 14, 2011 | 5:11 p.m. CST; updated 6:22 p.m. CST, Monday, November 14, 2011

COLUMBIA — Ever wonder where your Thanksgiving Day turkey comes from?

There is a good chance it might come from Missouri, which produces more than 21 million turkeys a year. That makes the state the fourth largest turkey producer in the country.

The biggest cost for raising these birds is feed. It accounts for almost 70 percent of production costs. Jeff Firman, poultry production and nutrition professor at MU's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources has discovered a way to create cheaper grains after almost 20 years of research and experiments.

He calls the new feed the "Missouri Ideal Turkey Diet," according to a news release.

"I have discovered what is digestible and what is wasted in the feed," Firman said in a phone interview. "By knowing these requirements, the ideal protein amount can be used, thus cutting waste and costs."

This new feed has similar traits to the average feed, which is normally made with corn and soybeans. With this new feed, Firman is able to reduce overfeeding and bring down excessive usage costs by around 8 percent.

Firman tested 800 turkeys which yielded successful results of reaching health targets and weights, the release stated. He expects the feed to see widespread use eventually.

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