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Feed continues to rise, global food is in emergency, 8 measures to reduce feed costs

View: 56 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2022-06-29 Origin: site

At present, the cost of feed has continued to rise, while the price of pigs is far below expectations, and many farms have even closed. It is particularly necessary to discuss the issue of  feed cost  again. At present, many feed mills and pig farms are also reviewing how to reduce the feed cost per kilogram of pork. This article lists 7 ideas for everyone to choose and think about.

 Feed continues to rise, global food is in emergency, 8 measures to reduce feed costs

1. Reduce slaughter weight


Feed conversion ratio ( FCR ) increased linearly with weight / age. This is because maintenance nutrient requirements increase with body weight; in fat pigs ( after 80 kg body weight) back fat thickness increases faster than muscle deposition, and body weight gain is lower when more fat is deposited. Therefore, reducing the final live weight from 125-130kg to 115kg will significantly increase the FCR of the feed and reduce the production cost given the current high feed cost.


2. Separate male and female feeding


The FCR of boars is much higher than that of sows due to lower lean daily gain but higher feed intake in boars. Ideally, for boars, for pigs of at least >75 kg body weight. Feed intake should be limited to 80 % of ad libitum . This feed restriction can be done by providing less feed, or by reducing the net energy content of the feed and increasing the fermentable fiber content to increase gut bulk. Therefore, a specific boar diet can be formulated with lower SID lysine and net energy compared to gilts .

Separating boars and gilts can be a cost-saving method.


Another issue is castration. There are advantages to raising uncastrated boars from a breeding perspective (better average daily gain ( ADG ) and FCR + no castration) and from a slaughterhouse perspective (higher lean percentage). From a pork trader's perspective, the downside is the problem of boar taint, with approximately 4-8% of boars identified as tainted.


Another solution to boar taint is immunization. But it requires two vaccinations, there is a cost, and it also requires approval from the slaughterhouse. If the market allows, with the current feed price increase, raising uncastrated boars and sows can significantly reduce the cost per kilogram of pork, even with the increased cost of immunization.


3. Materials used in stages


At present, many fattening pigs use only one material number, that is, 522 has been used until the end. And many large companies use at least 3 kinds of breeding fertilizers. As the feed conversion ratio increases, most of the feed volume is consumed during the finishing stage (from 80 kg to slaughter). From this point of view, adding different stages (e.g. 2 or more finisher feeds) can help to reduce feed costs because the nutrient concentration of the feed can be reduced in later stages. As mentioned earlier, pigs have a higher feed intake during the finishing stage and grow primarily with fat rather than muscle. Therefore, these finishing feeds with reduced net energy and SID lysine levels can significantly reduce feed costs.


Fourth, analyze the nutritional content of feed


Depending on the market, in addition to reducing net energy and SID lysine in feed formulations in the finishing stage, strict observation of nutrient density, crude protein and amino acid levels, and the use of attractively priced feeds can help reduce feed per kg of pork cost. This is also one of the main drivers of feed costs.


To this end, feed ingredient analysis and nutrient variation analysis, and reducing the safety margins usually associated with higher costs in feed, are very important. Reducing variations in crude protein in finished feeds by carefully monitoring the crude protein content of feeds (protein-enriched feeds and grains) will help control feed costs (by enabling lower "safety margins") and lead to more consistent techniques performance.

Likewise, reducing variability in starch and fat content in energy-rich feeds will result in more consistent feed conversion ratios. In practice, this will result in the receipt of feeds being stored in separate bins based on NIR analysis and reformulated according to their (different) nutrient content when you start using them in feed production. A feasible standard of variation will need to be set based on actual NIR analysis of the feed received at the feed mill level .


5.Feed additives


A large part of the cost of feed comes from feed additives. Therefore, it is advisable to carefully review which feed additives are effective and at what time period (feed formulation). In addition, in the same feed formulation, different feed additives have similar modes of action, and their composite effects will also be questioned. Previous studies have shown that omitting vitamin and mineral premixes during the last month before slaughter does not reduce technical performance.


Fat-soluble vitamins ( A , D , E ) are the most expensive part of the premix cost (up to 50% ), accumulate during the growth phase of the body (liver) and are less prone to deficiency than water-soluble vitamins and trace minerals. Since the cost of vitamin and mineral premixes is generally around 4% of the feed cost , it is easy to save 1% of the feed cost on a finisher feed. On the other hand, feed additives that improve gut health or nutrient utilization efficiency can help reduce feed costs per kilogram of pork, even if they increase apparent feed costs.


6. Phosphorus content and phytase


Phosphorus is the most expensive inorganic mineral to add to pig and sow feed ( 0.5-1.0 % of feed cost). Thanks to regulations to reduce phosphorus emissions, the EU has a lower (digestible) phosphorus content compared to Asian countries, without a drop in technical performance. In addition, newer phytase qualities are more efficient at releasing phytate-bonded (plant) phosphorus, thereby reducing feed costs.


7.Feed processing


Compared with powder, pellets reduce feed waste and improve nutrient utilization. Generally, an increase in feed conversion ratio ( 1-2 % reduction) can easily offset the cost of pelleting. But be aware that grinding too finely can be detrimental to gut health.


8. Raw material replacement


When a certain raw material is expensive, you can choose to replace the corresponding replaceable low-cost raw material. For example, the more common wheat now replaces corn, and sorghum and barley can also replace corn. Rapeseed meal and cottonseed meal replace soybean meal, etc.


It should be noted that the safety and nutrition of the replacement raw materials need to be readjusted. For example, the crude protein content of wheat is higher than that of corn, but it contains a certain amount of xylan, and the effective energy value of corn is equivalent to that of corn after appropriate supplementation of NSP enzyme. After wheat replaces corn, it is easy to lack linoleic acid, which can be supplemented by adding oil and so on. The content of available biotin in wheat is very low and needs to be supplemented.




It should be noted that the reduction of feed cost is not only a reduction in the apparent cost of feed, but a reduction in the cost of meat production. Only a real reduction in meat production costs, even an increase in apparent feed costs is appropriate. In conclusion, we have explored and discussed many possibilities to reduce the cost of feed per kg of pork. We can selectively try in our production. The road to cost reduction is the only way for the pig industry. One day, the price of pigs will fall below the cost line. Active attempts are much better than passive acceptance.