Pork Insight Articles

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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.

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Author(s): Ken Engele
Publication Date: April 18, 2012
Reference: Centred on Swine 17-2
Country: Canada


Feed represents the largest proportion of cost of production, contributing up to 70% of the variable cost of production. This is nothing new. However in the past couple of years we have seen feed costs rise to historically high levels, while costs may retreat somewhat, it is highly unlikely in the short term that we will see feed costs dip to levels experienced in 2004 and 2005.

Since feed costs represent the largest portion of cost of production, it also represents the greatest opportunity for reducing costs in particular the grower-finisher barn.  With the higher feed costs there has been a greater push towards managing feed efficiency within operations. At current feed costs an improvement in feed efficiency of 0.1 kg of feed per kg of gain will result in a greater than $2.00 net income per pig marketed.

There are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account when examining feed efficiency in pork production: These are environmental (temperature, humidity, air circulation), social (space allocation, group size, re-grouping), immunological (disease, pathogen concentration), and management (particle size, feeder adjustment).

While this is not an inclusive list, it gives us the perspective of the multi-disciplinary approach that is required to achieve the full potential of managing feed efficiency. One of the ways in which Prairie Swine Centre is delivering this message is through a series of webinars specifically dedicated to a Focus on Feed EfficiencyThis series of eight Feed Efficiency webinars are being delivered in partnership with the Farm Leadership Council starting March 5 and concluding June 19. Webinars will run on two week intervals by well-known experts in the area of feed efficiency discussing a wide range of topics including: feeding and barn management, whole herd factors, feed processing, new technologies and health impact on feed efficiency.


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