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Opportunity to Reduce Pork Production Costs

by 5m Editor
16 April 2012, at 9:38am

CANADA - A research scientist with the Saskatoon-based Prairie Swine Centre says by focusing on feed, pork producers have the opportunity to lower the cost of getting a pig to market, Bruce Cochrane writes.

"Managing the Cost of Production through Nutrition" is among the topics being discussed as part of the Prairie Swine Centre's 2012 Spring Producer Meetings, which travels to Portage la Prairie tomorrow and Niverville Wednesday.

Prairie Swine Centre research scientist nutrition Dr Denise Beaulieu says the need to reduce feeding costs has been driven by necessity.

Dr Denise Beaulieu-Prairie Swine Centre

Nutrition or the cost of feeding the pig, the cost of getting the pig to market, is presently 65 to 75 per cent of the variable cost of production so it is the major variable cost in pork production today.

It always has been a significant cost however with the recent increase in the price of feeds, it has increased even more.

We've had to look for cheaper ways of getting a pig to market, of decreasing the cost of feed and that has two major focus areas.

One is fine-tuning the feeding program so that we're not over-feeding nutrients to the pig.

This could be as simple as balancing amino acids so in order to meet some amino acid needs we're not overformulating others, it could be the same thing with minerals and phase feeding.

We're trying to more precisely feed the pig as it grows throughout different stages of production.

The other major focus area of course is more increased use of by-product feeds and alternative ingredients.

Producers are looking around for alternative ingredients, by-products from other industries.

Incorporating these into their rations can decrease the cost of production significantly.


Dr Beaulieu says, depending on availability, these by-product feeds can lower production costs by anywhere from four to five dollars per pig if the producer has the ability to properly formulate and least cost them into the ration.

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