The delicate balance of barley as a feed crop
The global feed industry consumes 36% of total crop production and is dominated by corn and soybeans. To be competitive producing meat, milk, or eggs, a competitive feed source is required. Increased transport costs and the drive for increased efficiency of livestock production have rearranged the competitiveness and placement of barley as a feed crop. Barley lacking the bulk density of corn and being slightly less dense in energy has at first glance a lower chance of competing as a feed source. Targeted breeding for special characteristics that give added value, yield increases as a crop, providing dual use and exploiting the relationship between malting and feed are avenues to increase barley's competitiveness. The industry changes to facilitate identity preservation and potential for designer food products are opportunities for barley to regain and retain market share. The challenge is not if we will do it, but when and what to do.
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