Nutrition is expensive, and it will remain so for a long time, especially while biofuels continue to compete with animals for cereals and other crops. Today, nutrition cost is estimated at 75% of total production cost. Most pig producers use free nutrition services offered 'freely'not only by qualified nutrition suppliers, but quite often even by suppliers that have little connection to nutrition.
For such an expensive decision, as to what nutrition program to follow, one can never be too vigilant. Even a mere 5% reduction in feeding cost can make the difference between breaking even or breaking the bank!
So, if you are already using a free nutrition service, you may want to question your provider about the following issues:
1. Who does your formulations, what are their qualifications, and what training are they receiving
every year - it would not be a bad idea to meet these professionals and even invite them in your
farm to see the animals, facilities, and meet your work force.
2. What kind of ingredient nutrient matrix is used and how is it updated? Is it an in-house
database updated by laboratory results or a generic reference library? Both are valid, but they
require different approach during feed formulation!
3. How were nutrient specifications (energy, lysine, etc) for your formulas decided?
a. Was your genetics taken into account?
b. Was the health status of your farm considered?
4. What is the route by which your formulas try to maximize profitability for you? Is it...
a. minimum cost per kg feed?
b. maximal pig performance?
c. optimal carcass characteristics?
Also, it would be a good idea to ask if there is a plan to challenge your pigs with a new set of
formulas to identify areas where cost savings might occur or performance might improve.