Feeding Tips That Benefit the Bottom Line

SASKATCHEWAN - Lowering costs of production and increasing revenues is more than just good business, says Canada's Prairie Swine Centre Team. For many producers this is the key to surviving the current market situation.
calendar icon 23 January 2008
clock icon 3 minute read
Most farms are using many of the ideas suggested one of the centre's latest bulletins. If not, it's research and advisory team say reevaluating them could find hidden profit potential.

Timely Feed Formulation

The ideal feed formulation is dependent on animal weight and performance as well as cost of ingredients. The main driver to determining the frequency of diet reformulation is ingredient prices. When prices are rising and falling diets need to be changed more often. In volatile markets that could mean weekly, but for most producers this exercise is done each month, or whenever a major ingredient changes in price or availability.

An example of the effect of diet reformulation on cost of production is seen in Table 1 comparing a diet formulated on April markets but still in use in December. Those same specifications when reformulated using December prices produced a much different cost per tonne and reduced the cost per pig by $2.33 without changing performance.

These example diets reflect only one farm’s pricing scenario and are greatly affected by local availability and any forward contracting of ingredients. Major changes in ingredient prices that have affected most producers include the increase of approx. $100/tonne in soy prices in December, resulting in this farm’s diets using more canola meal in grower and finisher diets. Experience suggests that regular reformulation of diets can reduce feed costs by $2-$4/pig sold.

Table 1. Cost Comparison April to December 2003

Grower Diet (35-60kg) Finisher Diet (60-90kg)
April 2003 $/tonne* 215.41 190.00
December 2003, $/tonne* 215.58 177.59
December 2003, reformulated 201.91 160.76
$ Difference/tonne (13.67) (16.83)
Feed Usage Budget (kg/pig) 60 90
$ Difference/pig $0.82 $1.51

Optimise Opportunity Ingredients

Optimising the use of ingredients like peas, lentils, and canola can reduce the cost of production in some commodity markets. Before incorporating any new ingredient pork producers recognize that real hurdles exist such as available bin space, and local availability of seed cleaning by-products. Usage rates will determine the value of any ingredient, one producer saved over $1.00 per pig by allowing grower diets to use up to 7.5 per cent canola and finisher diets up to 10 per cent. Pea usage up to approximately 30 per cent of the diet is feasible. The net value of this tip will vary widely depending on the pricing and availability of alternative ingredients.

Further Reading

- To read more of PSC's 'Ways to Improve Your Bottom Line' click here.
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