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Swine Producers Encouraged To Consider Ingredient Cost When Formulating Diets

by 5m Editor
12 April 2007, at 10:53am

CANADA - Scientists at the Prairie Swine Centre are encouraging hog producers to consider ingredient cost as they formulate rations that will meet the nutritional requirements of their herds, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Between February 2006 and February 2007 the ingredient cost of feeding pigs has gone up by an estimated 25 to 30 percent but market prices have remained relatively constant and or have softened creating a cost price squeeze.

Prairie Swine Centre president and CEO Dr. John Patience says the simplest thing producers can do is to reformulate diets according to ingredient cost.

Dr. John Patience-Prairie Swine Centre

If we take a look at the ingredients that are in a typical pig diet and look at the reason that they're in the diet, i.e. are they there primarily to supply energy or are they there primarily to supply amino acids or vitamins or minerals, energy by far is the largest.

And if you look at the ingredients that are supplying energy i.e. wheat, barley, field peas and oil as an example they'll typically represent 60 to 65 percent of the total cost of the diet.

Or looked at another way, if I formulate a diet where I only have and energy spec and no amino acid, vitamin or mineral specifications and then compare that to a fully balanced diet about 50 to 55 percent of the cost is required just to meet the energy specifications so we're looking at a very substantial portion of the cost of the diet being attributed to the energy component and that's the component that has gone up the most in the past six months.


Dr. Patience notes there are several opportunities to influence feed costs but what will work for any given farm will vary depending on its location and circumstance.

However, he notes, there's things like looking at any number of alternative ingredients, such as lentils or low tannin faba beans, that would allow the pork producer to meet all of the nutrient specifications of the diet but at a more modest cost.

5m Editor