"When Every Penny Counts" Scheduled for Alberta and Saskatchewan

by 5m Editor
17 March 2008, at 9:50am

CANADA - The Prairie Swine Centre is encouraging hog producers to consider adjusting their market weight targets as one way to maximize feed efficiency during a time of high feed costs and low hog prices, writes Bruce Cochrane.

The role of market weights in the profitability of hog production will be one of several areas examined, when the Prairie Swine Centre takes its "When Every Penny Counts" seminar series to Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The sessions look at animal nutrition, facilities engineering and design and energy consumption reduction strategies developed by the Prairie Swine Centre to help reduce pork production costs without spending additional dollars.

Centre President and CEO Dr. John Patience notes feed accounts for 50 to 75 percent of the cost of producing pork and, when hog prices and low and feed costs high, the ideal target market weight will be different than when feed is inexpensive and hog prices are strong.

Dr. John Patience-Prairie Swine Centre

The optimum weight that a producer would be aiming for will vary from farm to farm because different genetics will respond to market weight differently that other genetics.

That's number one.

Number two is as you can appreciate, when we go from a situation of a couple of years ago where market prices were relatively high and feed costs were very low, that would dictate that we probably feed our pigs to a heavier weight.

Where as right now, where market prices are very low and feed costs are very high, putting that extra weight on a pig is going to be very expensive.

That would probably suggest that we should be aiming for a much lighter pig.

In the case of our own operation, approximately a year ago, we were aiming for about a 97 kilogram carcass.

Then last fall we dropped that down to a 94 kilogram carcass.

At the first of the year we dropped it even further to about a 92 kilogram carcass all the while because the relationship between feed cost and market price has changed."

The seminars will visit Red Deer April 2 and Lethbridge April 3 and Swift Current April 22 and Saskatoon April 23.

5m Editor