Correct Feeder Adjustment Improves Pig Production

CANADA - Ensuring correct feeder adjustment will minimise feed waste while maintaining the productivity of the swine herd, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 1 May 2015
clock icon 3 minute read

On a 10-year average, feed represents about 58 per cent of the total cost of producing hogs, although that number will vary depending on feed costs and can reach as high as two-thirds of the cost.

Ken Engele, the manager of technology transfer with the Saskatoon based Prairie Swine Centre told those attending the Centre's 2015 Manitoba Spring Producer Meetings last week that one of the simple things that can be done to manage feed costs is ensuring proper feeder adjustment.

Ken Engele - Prairie Swine Centre:

There's lots of research out there over the past dozen or 10 years that says feeder pan coverage should be 40 per cent in the nursery.

The Prairie Swine Centre would have done that work.

Then grower finisher, Kansas State University would have said feeder pan coverage needs to be in that 50 to 60 per cent range.

Taking 50 per cent feeder pan coverage is sort of optimal.

Anything beyond that on the upper side winds up increasing feed waste and adjusting feeders too tightly actually reduces animal performance.

Typically, going into some of the research what we found was that in the nursery, people tended to want to be overly aggressive on tightening the nursery feeders just because they thought that would be expensive feed but, in doing barn audits through an ADOPT project over the last six weeks, what we found is quite the opposite.

About two-thirds of the feeders in the nursery specifically were over-adjusted so it seems producers were focusing on not wanting to restrict animal performance at that crucial time of growth.

Mr Engele recommended making sure everything is properly adjusted before filling the barn with pigs.

He noted that, because 50 per cent coverage could mean different things to different people, posting a picture of what the feeder pan should look like is a good rule of thumb to allow for easier comparison.

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