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Lower Feed Costs Allow Pork Producers to Refocus on Maximising Performance

By Bruce Cochrane

A nutritionist with the Prairie Swine Centre says lower feed costs and higher live hog prices are allowing pork producers to refocus on maximising the productivity of their herds.

"Cost Saving Ideas in the Finishing Barn" was among the topics discussed last week as part of the Prairie Swine Centre's series of 2014 producer meetings.

Dr. Denise Beaulieu, a research scientist nutrition with the Prairie Swine Centre, says the big change in the past few months has been the decrease in the cost of feedgrains and the increase in pig prices which means producers can shift their focus away from decreasing the cost of feed and look at investing more money to increase the rate of gain of those animals.

Dr. Denise Beaulieu-Prairie Swine Centre:
We're still seeing these changes happening but certainly we could put some more money perhaps into the feed where we were really focussed before on doing everything we could to decrease the cost of feed and it was profitable even if it meant slowing the rate of growth down.

However now, with the increased futures prices for the pigs, a producer could spend a little bit more money for their feed if it means increasing the rate of gain of those animals so they can afford to invest once again in the feed if it improves the performance of those animals.

Maximizing productivity or feed costs, what the producer always wants to be concerned about is their net returns so they need to model their whole system, not just look at one component in isolation.

If they're going to put a little bit more money into their feed they have to know how that affects the performance of those animals and what they get from those animals as an overall return when they sell those pigs and so they have to be able to know the return on that investment just like any other business.

Dr. Beaulieu encourages producers to review their least cost diet formulations.

She says to take full advantage of the positive changes each producer needs to re-evaluate their own system, go through all of their diets and perhaps reformulate those diets.

Source: Farmscape

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