The Hidden Costs of Corn & Soy Free Grain
It’s been about 10 months now using this new grain, and there are some major problems. The corn and soy free grain is of the highest quality, but with no soy it lacks some essential amino acids which the chickens need to produce eggs of size and quantity for a farmer to be financially sustainable. Their production is down 15-20%. And the worst part is how many small eggs I collect. Most people don’t like small eggs, so I have to sell them cheap if I don’t want them sitting around. I was also loosing money with my wholesale accounts who couldn’t afford to pay more money when I switched over to corn and soy free. They were already paying top dollar and like most customers surveyed they didn’t care enough about the new feed to pay more.
To break it down, I’m loosing $1,000 a month in revenue with the smaller eggs and lower production, while at the same time paying almost $2,000 more a month on grain. Until a better alternative can be used, I will be switching back to the regular organic grain with corn and soy. I’m still a long way off from growing enough insects for the chickens to provide the amino acids they need when no soy is used.
I decided to try the corn and soy free grain last August after the farm became landlocked. With no access for a bulk grain delivery by truck, I had to start purchasing it by the bag. This cost 30% more for the same grain. After some research, I discovered I could purchase the corn and soy free grain from a different mill by the pallet for the same price as the old feed by the bag. I took the opportunity to try it out. Unfortunately it hasn’t worked out, and with only 5% of my customers asking for a soy free product, it’s just not time to go that route. Most customers surveyed want humanely raised, transparent, organic and local eggs. I will still be providing that, and someday down the road I will have developed the skills and set up the infrastructure to grow insects to scale for the chickens to go soy free again.