A combination of factors have been impacting United States hog farmers.
A down hog market gives producers little room for error, especially for those experiencing an increased death loss and reproductive problems. We discuss ways to decrease costs and minimize losses below.
Dr. Stewart Galloway serves as swine nutritionist at Hubbard Feeds, a division of Alltech. Galloway understands hog producers want more productive sows. However, he says this cannot be obtained by slashing production costs.
“Many farmers talk about least cost production. Some have tried a true, least cost feed program and probably give up more performance than what it’s worth,” Galloway said. “We tend to focus more on best cost and productivity.”
Galloway says increasing production and reducing costs go somewhat hand-in-hand. However, he advises farmers to first focus on productivity, and the reduced costs will follow.
“There’s merit in evaluating sources of waste and looking for costs that can be decreased, but we try to keep our producers focused on productivity,” Galloway said. “That’s where we get the significant return back. We have better productivity that helps decrease the fixed cost per pig through the system.”
Galloway describes Alltech as “program-oriented,” and outlines the guidelines his company has set in place for farmers looking to maximize productivity.
“One of the things we think about when we look at productivity is our sow Blueprint® program,” Galloway said. “That program includes a number of technologies from Alltech that help improve productivity in our sows. We see an improved breeding performance, skin coat and hair coat, and we’re seeing more thrifty, viable pigs in our farrowing barns from that.”
Galloway notes a productive pig is the result of excellent health, from an early stage. He encourages hog producers to start paying attention to gut health after weaning.
“Weaning is the number one stress on pigs, and has been shown to increase gut inflammation, which results in decreased feed intake and decreased growth of pigs. If we can do anything to help improve gut health, especially across weaning, that’ll pay great benefits downstream,” Galloway said.