Key to Accelerating Profitability in Grow-Finish Phase

US - When feed ingredient prices are high, the natural reaction among pork producers is to explore ways to reduce feed costs – especially in the grower-finisher phase. But simply incorporating lower-cost feed alternatives into diets – without fully weighing their impact on performance – could have expensive consequences.
calendar icon 12 October 2011
clock icon 5 minute read

"Producers’ desire to reduce feed costs is certainly understandable. But more often than not, focusing solely on reducing feed costs isn’t compatible with improving overall profitability," says Dr Brad Lawrence, Technical Manager, Pork Business Team – North America for Novus International. "We urge producers to look at things more holistically, and evaluate their feeding program not only on cost per unit of gain, but also on the basis of net return per pig. That means looking at reducing feed costs, but also considering the efficiency of your overall marketing strategy and nutrition program so that you are maximizing the percentage of pigs sold at their optimum target market weight. This results in maximum revenue per pig."

According to Dr Lawrence there are three keys to optimizing feed costs and enhancing pig performance to yield a higher net return per pig.

First, know the nutritional content and quality of the ingredients that are going into the diet. "It’s very important to know what you’re putting in the diet is what you think you’re putting in the diet," Dr Lawrence says. "Knowing the nutritional value – especially the digestible amino acids – in feed ingredients is critical for properly formulating diets to optimize both costs and pig performance."

Novus offers a proprietary tool, IDEA™, which is a first-of-its-kind assay that provides invaluable, and almost immediate, information and insight into the quality and digestibility of amino acids in various protein sources.

"Proper formulation is a critical step in optimizing feed costs," Dr Lawrence notes. "You need to know the genetic growth potential pigs are achieving in your production system and then formulate to meet those needs. To minimize feed costs the nutrition program should be matched to what the pigs are capable of achieving within a specific facility, health status, time of year, and so on. Under-formulating has obvious consequences in terms of inhibiting pigs’ performance while over-formulating adds unnecessary costs to the diet.

"After you know the genetic potential, you can formulate the diet to that potential," Dr Lawrence adds. "However, to accurately formulate the amino acid needs, you must know the total and digestible amino acid content of the ingredients. That’s why the IDEA assay – and its ability to predict the digestibility of amino acids and ingredients such as soybean meal, dried distillers’ grains (DDGS) and meat and bone meal – is such a valuable tool. It can bring much greater accuracy to the diet formulation process."

The second key in optimizing feed costs and improving net return per pig is managing ingredient quality and mycotoxin management. "We’re seeing an increase in the use of feed ingredients like DDGS and wheat-based products in pork production. Compared to corn, these ingredients frequently have significantly higher mycotoxin contamination that can reduce pigs’ performance," Dr Lawrence says.

Traditional mycotoxin concerns for Midwest pork producers have included intake-depressing Vomotoxin (DON) or estrogenic zearalenone. However, this year, with the hot, dry growing conditions in the Corn Belt, Aflatoxin is the primary concern.

Novus solutions designed to help offset the impact of mycotoxins include SOLIS® anti-caking agent and AGRADO® Plus feed ingredient. SOLIS supports healthy immune systems in pigs. Agrado Plus can help mitigate the negative effects of mycotoxins. When included in a high DDGS diet, AGRADO Plus has shown the ability to improve feed intake, gain and feed efficiency.

The third key in optimizing feed costs and pig performance in the grow-finish stage, according to Dr Lawrence, is maintaining gut health, which is also a critical component of overall herd health.

"Pigs that are properly vaccinated will maintain a higher overall level of health that leads to better gain, feed conversion and performance in the grow-finish stage," he notes. "Gut health is equally important. Maintaining a healthy gut microflora is important in maintaining feed intake and enhancing pigs’ ability to absorb and fully utilize the nutrients supplied in diets."

ACTIVATE® DA nutritional feed acid and MINTREX® Cu both contribute to the maintenance of a healthy gut environment in pigs. ACTIVATE DA is a concentrated feedgrade organic acid product that enhances feed palatability and favorably modifies the gut environment of the upper gastrointestinal tract. MINTREX Cu is a highly bioavailable source of copper trace mineral protected by ALIMET® feed supplement, a methionine source designed to optimize health.

Studies have shown that diets supplemented with ACTIVATE DA generated superior growth rates in pigs while improving the overall economics of the late finishing period. Similarly, pigs fed MINTREX Cu have shown higher average daily gains and improved feed/gain ratios.

While there are three basic premises to optimizing feed costs, Scott Moore, Novus National Sales Manager – Pork, says there is no "one size fits all" solution to improving net return per pig in the grow-finish stage.

"As a company, we offer a full suite of services and nutritional technologies through our Accelerating Finishing Profitability Programme that are designed to help producers optimize nutrition and deliver tangible results to their bottom line," says Mr Moore.

Producers can learn more about the Accelerating Finishing Profitability Programme from their Novus Pork representative or by clicking here.

© 2000 - 2023 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.