Dr. Kevin Touchette, Senior Swine Nutritionist
Communication is key in the relationship between a swine producer and their nutritionist, and that can mean digging in — even on the financial side of the operation.
Understanding how you make your money — how you sell your pigs, who you sell them to, and if there are incentives for certain aspects of production — can help a nutritionist optimize your plan and maximize your revenue potential.
Understanding the ROI of Specialty Production Factors
With tight budgets in mind, many producers look specifically at the cost per pound of gain. But as with any aspect of farming, it’s just as important, if not more so, to consider the potential for overall profit. Some packers may incentivize producers for certain carcass attributes. Generally, requests such as this can come with financial bonuses or dockages, so developing feed budgets early with these parameters in mind can make a significant difference in your bottom line.
Commodity Nutrition vs. Premium Nutrition
A commodity-type nutrition program lowers your cost of production but doesn’t account for how you produce those pigs. If you are selling the pigs into the commodity market and getting paid off a base price, that is fine, but if you have the potential to make higher premiums, modifying your nutrition program may help you better achieve your goals and take advantage of the revenue opportunity.
Maybe you need pigs to reach weight faster or even slower to optimize your market value. Perhaps the goal is to maximize lean or improve the iodine value of the animal’s fat. You cannot achieve those premium goals when you are feeding the same old plan everyone else uses. A specialized nutrition plan from an expert such as those at Ralco can help you address those necessary parameters.
Having a slightly higher cost per pound of gain because of a specialized diet has the potential to lead to an increase in revenue, thanks to the higher sale value. You may see an increase in production cost, but it can be compensated by selling the pigs at a higher premium price.
Let Your Nutrition Plan Help You Hedge Against Risk
Commodity prices have some volatility, and while some change is predictable, such as that in summer and winter, other variations are not. By changing diets and watching pig performance toward those premium goals, producers take advantage of the long-term opportunities to maximize their farm’s potential by producing for premium markets.