Staying Competitive During Less Favorable Markets

Michael Edmonds, Ph.D., Vice President, Swine Nutrition

Helping pork producers improve their growing-finishing efficiencies is especially critical when market hog prices are low and corn, soybean meal and other feedstuffs are exceedingly high. Listed below are some growing-finishing strategies you can use to help your customers make the most from their operations:

  1. Corn particle size should be 750-850 microns. Feed efficiency is dramatically affected by particle size (Nutrition Notes, 11-22-97).
  2. Minimize feed wastage by properly adjusting feeders. Also, check water flow rate (Nutrition Notes, 6-18-94).
  3. Consider using growing-finishing programs that utilize Phytase (SMXPT, SMXPT+Lys) compared to those that don’t (SMX, SMX + Lys) since the Phytase-supplemented diets cost less (about $1.50/ton or roughly 50¢/pig) as the price of phosphate sources has markedly increased. In addition, these phosphorus sources are now in short supply.
  4. Feed pigs diets balanced for all amino acids, not just lysine (Nutrition Now, May 1995).
  5. Use split-sex feeding procedures. As a general rule, finishing gilts (100-lb. body weight or more) require approximately 1.5% higher protein levels than barrows (Nutrition Notes, 5-4-91 and Pork Producer News, Winter 1990).
  6. Under feeding protein costs the producer and you money (Nutrition Notes, 1-17-98).
  7. Sell market hogs at weights packers prefer. Sorting hogs properly can save the producer several dollars per head (Nutrition Notes, 12-7-96).
  8. Follow all-in/all-out procedures (Nutrition Notes, 7-18-92).
  9. Whenever possible, do not co-mingle finishing pigs (Nutrition Notes, 4-16-94)
  10. Observe pigs daily and minimize stresses associated with tail-biting (Nutrition Notes, 11-18-95 and 9-29-01).
  11. Sell pigs at lighter weights (Nutrition Notes, 11-21-98 and 1-30-99).
  12. The use of 200 lb/ton of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) generally reduces the cost of growing-finishing diets (Nutrition Now, January 2003). However, higher levels (i.e., 400 and 600 lb/ton) of DDGS results in “oily pork” (Nutrition Now, January 2008). See your District Sales Manager so they can go over a “DDGS calculator” for growing-finishing pig diets.
  13. Consider the use of supplemental amino acids (lysine, threonine, methionine) when soybean meal prices are above $300/ton. See your District Sales Manager on how to use the AA Pak (2210) in adjusting growing-finishing diets.

By using these nutrition and management strategies, you can help producers during these challenging times.