When it comes to raising grow-finish pigs, any efficiencies that benefit both the pig and producer are welcomed.
The team of professionals at Ralco excels in providing information and educational resources to help producers make the best-informed management decisions.
Corn Grind Plays a Huge Role
According to Dr. Jim Hedges, Senior Technical Advisor for Ralco Swine Nutrition, fine ground corn is the cheapest improvement to feed efficiency. There are numerous trials that show feed to gain (F:G) can be impacted up to 0.15 lbs of feed/lb. of gain, depending on the phase and just how coarse your grind is. Ralco does a lot of micron testing and there is quite a range in corn grind. Additionally, uniformity of grind is extremely important, we occasionally get samples that the average grind is good but it is an average of extremely fine and extremely coarse grind. Hedges personally suggests anywhere between 450-500 microns as an ideal target for finishing pigs.
Though grind size is important in the nursery stage, it is essential in finishing pigs, because they eat more feed and chew less. If the corn is ground finer when they consume it, they will succeed in absorbing what corn has to offer.
Another tip within the feed topic is to ensure the feeder adjustment is set accurately. Too tight, and the pigs’ gain can be compromised. Too loose, and expensive feed can be wasted down the slats.
Creative Diet Adjustments
With the rollercoaster of prices in the commodity market, producers will benefit from being flexible with their swine diets. Whether it’s a change of ingredients solely based on cost or availability, changes can be made to adapt to each farm’s needs.
“We used to say that if fat was 4.5x the price of corn or less, it was a deal,” shares Dr. Hedges. “Now fat is about 6x the price of corn, and it no longer economically fits our diets.”
It’s important to put an energy value on swine diets to stay within range of what pigs need. You want to be right on the edge of where you're maximizing synthetics without buying fat. This approach lowers soybean meal and therefore lowers the heat increment, this increases the amount of starch in the diet, and typically provides more efficiency in the summer heat.
Another adjustment is to use Ralco essential oil products, Regano® or Prosper™. The essential oils help reduce oxidative stress and maintain the gut tissue integrity. Under heat stress, pigs experience what is called leaky gut hurting diet utilization. The use of essential oil products can help prevent leaky gut and keep hogs on feed.
How to Achieve Pig Uniformity
Some pigs just grow better than others. Most of the time, it’s based on their naturally occurring enzymes. An efficient pig is one that can produce more protease, amylase and other enzymes than the other pig. The poorest performing pigs have fewer digestive enzymes and therefore don't utilize feed as well.
Let Ralco Build a Diet Plan That Makes Your Finishing More Efficient
Ralco’s EnMAX® nutrition program is a strategic tool for building efficiencies. The proprietary enzyme cocktail maximizes ingredient utilization, producing more uniform pigs. Some key traits are lowering soybean meal usage while still hitting pigs’ amino acid needs, adding enzymes to more efficiently utilize nutrients and limiting reliance on supplemental fat.
Instead of making the best pig grow better, this enzyme cocktail helps the bottom-end pigs improve their performance. And that's how uniformity is achieved.
Let the team at Ralco help build a custom recommendation for your farm. Our team of swine experts and nutritionists develop tools using essential oils and prebiotics and diets like EnMAX that can be customized to help improve the health of your pigs in many situations.
Swine producers working with Ralco typically see:
Less outbreaks and severity
Reduced antibiotic use
Overall higher health status of animals
Less fall-behind animals