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:
- Corn particle size should be 750-850 microns. Feed efficiency is dramatically affected by particle size (Nutrition Notes, 11-22-97).
- Minimize feed wastage by properly adjusting feeders. Also, check water flow rate (Nutrition Notes, 6-18-94).
- 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.
- Feed pigs diets balanced for all amino acids, not just lysine (Nutrition Now, May 1995).
- 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).
- Under feeding protein costs the producer and you money (Nutrition Notes, 1-17-98).
- Sell market hogs at weights packers prefer. Sorting hogs properly can save the producer several dollars per head (Nutrition Notes, 12-7-96).
- Follow all-in/all-out procedures (Nutrition Notes, 7-18-92).
- Whenever possible, do not co-mingle finishing pigs (Nutrition Notes, 4-16-94)
- Observe pigs daily and minimize stresses associated with tail-biting (Nutrition Notes, 11-18-95 and 9-29-01).
- Sell pigs at lighter weights (Nutrition Notes, 11-21-98 and 1-30-99).
- 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.
- 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.