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Shift from Optimising Feed Efficiency to Optimising Profitability

by 5m Editor
13 December 2012, at 9:30am

CANADA - An Iowa State University Swine Nutritionist says, with feed accounting for the highest portion of the cost of producing a pig, feed formulation can play a major role in influencing the profitability of an operation, writes Bruce Cochrane.

With feed costs running at near record levels North American pork producers have been seeking strategies to maximize their feed efficiency.

Dr John Patience, a professor of animal science and applied swine nutrition with Iowa State University, says approaches to formulating swine diets have become much more sophisticated over the past 20 years and now offer more predictable outcomes that will help maximize net income.

Dr John Patience- Iowa State University

The cost of production for feed as a portion of the total is between 60 and 70 per cent depending on the operation so obviously nutrition and getting the feeding program right is extremely important.

About 85 per cent of the total cost of formulating a diet is required just to meet the energy specification so if you look at it that way somewhere in the range of 50 to 60 per cent of the total cost of production is involved in just meeting the energy specification of the diet so energy is very important.

Energy is very important because it's costly.

It's obviously the biggest cost component of the diet but it's also important because, as we showed, it can drive growth rate, it can drive feed efficiency, pork quality and feed intake so it influences so many things.

That's just energy then there's amino acid component, the vitamins and minerals so if the diets aren't formulated correctly, which means optimally from a dollars and cents point of view and from a net income point of view, then the negative effect on a successful operation is profound.


Dr Patience observes producers no longer evaluate their feeding programs on how fast the pig grows but rather what will they provide in terms of net income for the farm which is so critical to the success of an operation.

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