Prairie Swine Centre

 Industry Partners

Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan

Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:

Author(s): John F. Patience, Ruurd T. Zijlstra and Denise Beaulieu
Publication Date: January 1, 2002
Reference: Banff Pork Seminar 2002
Country: Canada


Feed accounts for 40 to 60% of total cost of production and is therefore important when attaining lowest possible cost. The goal is the best possible carcass in the shortest amount of time. Using a feed budget helps to estimate the quantity of each diet that will be fed to a pig. It helps prevent overfeeding a high quality diet and therefore decreases the cost per pig sold. The last 2 phases of the feeding program must be carefully formulated to avoid additional costs. Excessive energy, phosphorus, and lysine should be avoided. Sow productivity, cheaper grains, cheaper processing costs, and increasing feed intake by a lower number during the entire grow/finish period can affect feed cost. Individual farms can have different targets that could include economic targets or increasing productivity. Caution should be taken to not focus on productivity so much that expenses are increased rather than revenue. Feed intake is the driving force of growth and should therefore be maximized. If feed intake is compromised, the barn temperature should be checked that it isn’t too high, especially in summer. Genetics plays a role in feed intake because different genotypes will have different levels of feed intake. Extras that can be done/checked are: bigger pigs entering grow/finish, correct floor space allowance, adequate feeder and water access, reduce the amount of pig mixing, health status, proper diet composition (balanced amino acids, adequate energy, etc.), anti-nutritional factors (any natural feed part that has a negative influence), and keeping feeders full. There is research going on that is investigating the theory that increased energy in feed will improve feed efficiency but not growth rate. Any change in dietary composition should be followed by closely monitoring the effects. Production problems can be very much influenced by past stages of production (e.g. – a finisher problem could very well be a result of an error or mismanagement of those pigs in the nursery or even farrowing). Nursery barn feeders should have a 40% covered bottom to maximize intake and minimize feed wastage. Ergot can safely be fed to nursery pigs up to a level of 0.1%.

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