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.