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Cheap Formulas

Ioannis Mavromichalis, PhD, International Consulting Nutritionist, Ariston Nutrition SL
One of the most common requests I receive is for a set of 'cheap formulas'. Is it really possible to attain lower cost per kilogram of feed without reducing animal performance? Yes and no!

Yes, if the formulas are over-fortified with nutrients, which is true in the majority of the cases I have reviewed; no matter if the formulas were from Spain, USA, Brazil, or China!
No, if the formulas are already on the ‘lean’ side. Here, one needs to accept lower growth
performance in order to reduce the feed bill. In some cases, reducing feed cost by, let’s say, 5% results in reduced growth performance that does not reduce profits by 5%, so there is a net benefit for the producer. This is, of course, assuming pigs are already growing near their maximal commercial potential, or feeding cost is not at the ‘breaking point’. Here a modeling tool can be of extreme value.
So, finding a less expensive nutrition program is indeed possible, but not something that can be done easily. The balance of nutrients needs to remain fixed, even though absolute values might decrease, and each additive needs to be evaluated according to farm-specific problems and targets.


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    Dr Nikolaos Kotrotsios

    The most correctable approach to this dilemma is to appoint the requirements of each farm separately. It is very well known that pigs require nutrients in order to maintain body tissues and processes in addition to supporting productive purposes. The productivity level of the pig affects nutrient requirements. Productivity levels of the swine herd can be measured on the farm but potential performance usually is not known. In which way you will be able to determine if nutrient levels should be greater than current levels to meet potential performance? Genetic background and breed of the pig will greatly affect the performance potential and thus nutrient requirements. Reductions in feed costs relative to fixed costs will force optimum weight upwards. If small-sized pigs are required at slaughter, profitability can only be attained if the higher production costs are adequately balanced by greater returns by kilogram. Finally, I should measure all the economic needs of the pig farmer, in order to balance the orientation of the diet formula among the market pig prices and production cost.

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    The use of seconds feed will bring the price per ton down but you need to use a nutritionist to gain maximum out of your cheaper feed by using minerals to compensate. The pigs may or may not have good growth but that I think depends on your nutritionist and your grain that you are buying.

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