Addressing 3 Common Challenges Your Swine Operation Might Face


Dr. Kelly Peper, Swine Nutritionist


One of the first things your swine nutritionist should know as they start building a plan for your operation is what challenges are common on your farm. By understanding the whole picture, not just mill capabilities or your genetics, they can help you make the right nutritional decisions for your operation.


3 Common Swine Herd Challenges Include:


1. Behavioral Issues

Pigs can sometimes become aggressive, and producers will notice issues such as tail and ear biting, belly nosing, or fighting. While there are a variety of issues that can lead to this behavior, nutrition can be used to address the concern. Diet adjustments like adding Ral-Calm™ and feed additives can help reduce the digestive stressors common in aggressive barn behavior.


2. Disease Issues

Disease can impact your overall farm productivity. Your nutritionist needs to know what kind of health issues your farm experiences—whether it’s E. coli, salmonella, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), dysentery or hemorrhagic bowel syndrome. Chronic and one-off disease issues can often be addressed preemptively and while they are happening through a good nutrition program. Products containing essential oils can play a role, through feed additives and water treatments such as Regano® and ProsperEO™ supporting immunity and improving pigs’ ability to respond to health challenges.


3. Variation in Size

Variation in pig size can limit your operation’s success. Seeing underweight pigs at load out indicates that a nutritional issue needs to be addressed. When we see weight variation across the barn, a good nutritionist will suggest you take a broader look at size variation, not just at finish closeout, but a nursery closeout as well.


For example, a good question to start with might be, “what is your barn’s weaning age?” Pigs should be fed to age, not weight, so identifying the variation in age early can help target those younger pigs. Identifying the bottom 30% of the herd and improving their performance is often a measurable way to work on overall herd consistency.


The Ralco Difference

At Ralco, we don’t believe in cookie-cutter diets. Just because you have the same genetics or goals does not mean you should have the same diets. Every swine nutrition plan designed by a Ralco nutritionist is tailored to the customer, based on your herd and operational needs. Let us be your partner in maximizing performance.


Ralco understands that every operation has its own unique opportunities and challenges. Let us show you the Ralco difference. Contact us to get started today!