Additives for today!

By Ioannis Mavromichalis
We all like to discuss the kind of products that will be needed in the future. In fact, I have even been invited to a few such 'think' groups to offer my two cents (or pennies in UK) of wisdom. But, things are so bad these days (or rather during the last two to three years) that we need solutions delivered yesterday to be used today; there might be no tomorrow otherwise!

I have observed that most producers (meaning, those who pay the feed bill) require no more additives that will bring a return-on-investment (say in six months) or that will improve performance by such percentage, or even solve one of the perennial problems of pig production (such as low feed intake in piglets, etc).

What they are looking for is ways to reduce feed cost. Not cost per kilogram of weight gain, nor cost per unit of energy being fed. They don’t even want to consider the benefits of improving feed efficiency. They just want something they can measure by the time they order the next batch of feed. Something tangible. Say, I add this additive and my feed cost (all other things being equal) is reduced by such amount. This is the kind of desperate advice I have been asked to give, more times than I dare to admit, lately! People have become desperate...

Now, such talk about feed cost would be considered ‘low priority’ during past times, and I have been one pestering everybody to look at cost per kilogram of gain, not cost per kilogram of feed. But, when the bank account is empty or the bank is about to foreclose the farm (and it is not only the small farms that suffer!) it is hardly possible to talk about ‘investments’.

So, given the harsh and unforgiving times we currently experience, my customers and those who contacted me lately have repeatedly asked for things that can reduce feed cost.

What are your experiences?



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    Dr Nikolaos Kotrotsios

    In those days it's hard to say and consulting the pigfarmers to increase productivity and improve performances. In my country due to the economic crisis everybody is disappointed about the new investments. They don't look about the new performance parameters and desperately look for only a critical point: Reduce my feed cost! So I agree with you and means that we are not the only one!

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    Jimmy Wan

    In my country, this Phenomena are commen. The customers allways asked for lower feed cost, and care about other economic index less.

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    Nigel Horrox

    Did not realise inflation was so bad here in UK. It always used to be 'a penny for your thoughts'. At 2p that's 100% inflation!!!!

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    lower feed costs....... use seconds grain, weather damaged grain. Less of your additives.....but I think this is detrimental....seconds grain and good minerals brings the cost per ton down and still have good growth. Feeding fruit and vegies as the hobbyists do....grazing as the out door producers do...all bring down cost, but there is not enough land world wide to produce al that the world produces right now..... so cost of production is what you can make it....chase arund for the cheaper items..... bakery waste, brewery waste, seconds fruit, vegetables, biscuits waste, old unused flour from the bakeries, biscuit factories, chocolate and lolly waste, cereal seconds........to name just a few

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    Mulindwa Christopher

    This is a big problem in Uganda and to some people who have not got relevant information on how to go about this, their pig farm businesses have collapsed or operating on losses.

    In my view, for countries/farms that have plenty of land space for-example Uganda, growing carbohydrate containing foods would be a priority for every Pig farmer. At least a farmer should only get protein and other food value containing feeds from commercial feed retailers.

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    Olayinka Akinde

    There is also an income or sales volatility dimension- consequent upon numerous issues (e.g. increased international trade, unsteady consumer disposable income, erratic market, food safety scares, climbing ingredient cost etc). While income decelerates, return on investment is not catching up fast enough. We see this even in big poultry producing markets like the USA, where reportedly feed cost is accelerating faster than produce income. Given these scenarios, recouping investment becomes more difficult. As practical people, producers like to hatch their eggs before counting the chickens. Hence paying more attention to feed cost reduction.
    Improvement in animal genetic potential is another relevant aspect. As this continues, performance gaps between cost-effective feeding level and those supported by optimal nutrition will become narrowed. Meaning that additives that ask farmers to investment will become less relevant.

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