Supposing you were running a haulage business and the cost of fuel suddenly rose by 36% in six weeks, which you could do nothing about. Would it be putting your business in severe danger?
However, your trucks have been wearing out after only 100,000 km and have had to be replaced when they should have lasted 500,000 km or more.
Question: what is the first thing you need to attend to – and urgently too?
Answer: the reason why your vehicles are wearing out so quickly, of course!
We have exactly the same situation with our breeding pigs. Our fuel (food) costs have suddenly rocketed, yet we have had to replace our trucks (sows) for years now after only 3 to 3Â½ litters – this is probably an optimistic average world-wide.
I do the sums on nearly every unit I visit these days where they are struggling to break four litters, if that. Either during the advisory visit or in the written report once I get home.
On average, my calculations reveal that breeders are wasting about 46% of their capital on far too short a sow productive lifetime. This can only be bad business management.
Trucks – sows? Same difference
But why? You are not idiots. Sure, fulminate about the draconian feed cost increases if you must, but too many of you have this black hole of a short sow productive life staring you in the face.
Either you are not aware of its serious effect on your breeding business or you don’t know how to rectify it. Bit of both, I guess.
Continuing my childish analogy a little further, the solution is to choose the new brand of truck thoughtfully, run it in carefully, don’t overload it, maintain it diligently, have an adequate stock of spares and have good service engineers and drivers.
The gilt is your new truck and is the most important item in your business (apart from yourself).
You need to run her in carefully, not overburden her until at least the third litter, maintain her as she ages, have a well thought-out pool of replacements, use all the latest techniques to service her properly – in both senses of the word – and employ well-trained stockpeople especially in the management of the younger sow.
In my next two blogs I will lay out 12 suggestions, in a few sentences each, which will cover all these.
I have found they worked when I returned two years later. And subsequently – many clients having achieved the magic ‘five litter average’ before too long.