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May 15

3 Experts Share Tips to Lower Feed Costs and Improve Profitability – Pork Magazine

Everyone wants to know the magic formula to reduce pig diet costs. With corn and soybean prices skyrocketing, its a hard question without an easy answer, experts say.

Byproducts will be of great value as an energy source in replacing corn, David Rosero, technical officer for The Hanor Company, said during the North Carolina State University Virtual Swine Research Forum. But, youll see as corn price increases, so will the cost of other ingredients.

Rosero encourages producers to not only consider which ingredients could make feed rations less expensive, but also to consider which ingredients or technologies could create more value for the pigs.

If we understand how ingredients work into our diets and where we can create more gain, for instance, or retain more pigs as full-value pigs, I think that will be better for the economics as well, Rosero explained.

Three nutritionists shared their recommendations when it comes to reducing diet costs and finding ways to improve profitability.

JD: Most all feed ingredients are riding the wave of higher prices. As more cattle go to grass, we typically see softening of higher fiber, lower energy ingredients such as wheat midds. Work with suppliers and know opportunities in wheat midds, soy hulls, DDGS, as supply and prices allow to lower costs.

DR: I would look into byproducts with high lipid levels as good energy sources. A good example will be dried distiller grains with solubles (DDGS), when its lipid level was high. However, I recommend that we look further than crude feed cost, and evaluate the value of feed ingredients and their nutrient input to marginal profitability during this specific time where weight gain is highly valuable.

HS: We still can use DDGS and bakery meal in pretty much the entire country. In some areas, there is access to hominy feed or corn germ meal. In areas where these ingredients are available, they should be utilized. Wheat midds or soybean hulls can also be used in sow diets to cut costs. It may also be economical to reduce soybean meal in the diets and add more crystalline amino acids but that depends on the cost of corn that will then increase in the diet. The economics of this substitution are different among producers depending on their corn situation. Additives that can enhance growth and/or feed efficiency are also valuable because of the high feed prices. Consider direct-fed microbials, copper, acidifiers and other additives that may improve feed conversion rate. The economics of using these additives increases in times with high feed costs.

JD: If feeding added fat, review to verify that it is economical, as in most situations in the Midwest it is not even with high market prices. Manage market weights to the ideal range for your packer and feed costs. Pay extra attention to feeder adjustment to reduce feed wastage. Optimize grain particle size to the lowest level possible that does not cause flowability issues in your feed system. Finally, review diet nutrient specifications to assure pigs are not being overfed amino acids.

DR: I would focus on inefficiencies in the system related to nutrition. Our feeding methods need attention to make sure we are not overfeeding sows and feeding growing pigs the right diet phase. During this time, I will also recommend focusing attention on the revenue side. Increasing the throughput will maximize profit and minimize losses. Are there areas in our systems that are limiting either the number of pigs that we sell or their weight?

HS: Check all feeders, bins and transport lines to make sure there is no feed wastage. Adjust feeders frequently to make sure pigs dont waste feed into the pit.

More from Farm Journal's PORK:

Cost-Cutting Measures Take the Sting out of High Feed Prices

High Feed Costs? Review Your Health Program

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3 Experts Share Tips to Lower Feed Costs and Improve Profitability - Pork Magazine

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