For Jeff Guenther, who manages over 85,000 pigs, Ralco’s Tactical Start® nursery feed is the leading product in his success story.
“The Tactical Start Starter 1 feed is my best friend,” said Guenther. “When using it, the pigs don't scour as we’ve experienced with other products, and I think that's important.”
Getting a Swine Herd off to the Right Start
Ralco’s Tactical Start focuses on a pig’s age, not their weight, to drive the starting point for their nutrition program.
“After we started using Tactical Start, the overall health of our nursery herd improved, and it's because they got the right formula for their gut at the right time,” Guenther said.
As pigs age, the enzyme production in their gut shifts. These shifting enzymes drive digestive maturity and capacity. Tactical Start diets match ingredients to digestive capabilities, minimizing gut damage and improving feed efficiency.
Guenther knows from personal experience that a nursery pig’s gut doesn’t accept plant protein well immediately post-weaning. Since lactose is a primary ingredient in Starter 1, pigs absorb the milk protein more completely and see more success than pigs placed immediately on a plant-based swine nutritional plan.
The lactase enzyme aids in the digestion of lactose that’s found in milk. Ralco’s early diets start with high levels of lactose, providing pigs with an easily digested source of energy.
When he first started using Ralco swine nutrition products, Guenther was skeptical about transitioning away from plant-based protein starter feed.
“Early on, I still fed some pellets and would add 4 or 5 pounds of Starter 1,” Guenther said. “But now we’ve got it down to about 3.5 pounds of Starter 1 and that's all we have to do.”
Guenther isn’t the only one who knows the power of Tactical Start. His contract growers often ask for the “special nursery feed” because they’ve observed how well the pigs eat it and perform.
“Everybody knows it: everybody asks for it,” he said.
Seeing the Benefits in Swine Feed Efficiency
For Guenther, swine feed efficiency is a key aspect of his management role. Through years in the industry, he has learned that larger pigs will continue to excel, but the smaller pigs are the ones that need a little extra focus.
“Big pigs will always be big pigs, and heavy pigs will always be heavy pigs,” Guenther said. “But with Tactical Start, the bottom end of my pigs are now bigger, so my overall average weight went up.”
Guenther also notes that he’s happy with the full nursery lineup and finishing feed products. His average daily gain has seen a significant increase since he began using Ralco’s swine feed product line.
Ralco Service is Second to None
Guenther’s relationship with the Ralco isn’t just for a specific product. For him, the quality customer service seals the deal on the Ralco difference.
"The high level of service is my second best friend,” he said. “Ralco is by far the best company I ever worked with.”
The swine sales team is directly connected to a leading group of nutritionists who offer sound advice and customized plans for each farm. Guenther especially appreciates the flexibility in planning and the options his salesman gives him.
Recently, when a new feed mill employee joined the team, Guenther’s Ralco representative took time out of his schedule to make sure the mill had an adequate supply of products and helped bring them up to speed on their nutrition program.
It’s the extra steps and the comfort of knowing they’ve got quality products that make Ralco the right choice.