How regular feed analysis benefits the bottom line

When was the last time you checked the nutritional content of your diet feeds? Different batches of barley or wheat, for example, can vary in protein content.

It is important to know the exact level because you can optimise the amount of expensive soya used in diets. And how else will you know the protein, amino acid and energy content, etc?

The only way to get a true answer is to analyse the cereal and food samples. Is that worth the hassle though?
With feed being the single largest cost in pig production, every penny saved is a bonus. Ensure you take representative samples for analysis, and make sure you take several samples from each batch, regardless of whether it’s grain or the total diet.

Another consideration is to ensure your diets are optimised to follow the recommendations for your specific age group of pigs:

  • Compromising the amino acids intake for growing pigs will reduce daily weight gain and increase feed conversion rate
  • Feeding gilts too much protein will result in very lean animals with not enough back fat at first service, which will reduce their productivity
  • Lactating sows not receiving enough energy and amino acids will have a lower milk yield. That compromises the piglets, or the sow will use too much of her back fat and body protein, leading to a poor body condition when leaving the farrowing house.

Not only can you optimise your feed costs, but you can ensure high productivity by regularly analysing your grain or feed.

“With feed being the single largest cost in pig production, every penny saved is a bonus”

Here in Denmark, we recently held our annual pig conference, the Herning Congress. Yet again, almost 2,000 people attended, with a large number of either pig producers or farm staff.

When there are declining numbers of producers in the country, it’s great to see so many wanted to spend two days in Herning to hear the industry latest.

The funny thing is, the concept has not changed too much in the last decade or so. It is a key event for us, where we meet our producers and share knowledge with them.

One of the producers from my feed project presented his journey at the conference. He has, on average, improved his bottom line by more than £65,000 a year, by focusing on feed management and feed costs.

He has implemented a plan for taking feed samples for analysis, calibrating feeders and weigh cells, and adjusting feed curves, etc.

He has complete control over his herd, including a strict health management plan. His take-home message was that he has not implemented anything hugely innovative, nor done things he did not know he should be doing – he just started doing it!

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About The Author

Lisbeth Shooter is a former BPEX knowledge transfer manager who’s now head of department for feed efficiency at the Danish Pig Research Centre.