Being a pig farmer can be a lot of fun, but these short-legged mammals require a lot of care and attention, and have very specific nutritional requirements.
This is a reality Meadow Feeds understands all too well, and in our latest Farmer’s Inside Track podcast Gareth Salmond, divisional technical manager: swine at Meadow Feeds, shares the basics of pig feeding for a profitable enterprise.
Salmond explains that a pig’s eating plan is no different than that of a human being. Crazy right?
He says that it is therefore essential to meet all a pig’s nutritional requirements through a well-balanced diet.
“In terms feed formulation, some important aspects to be considered as a nutritionist include determining the most effective energy level for the respective growth period. Another important aspect is to determine the energy ratio for the growth period.”
Salmond adds that feed costs make up about 60% to 70% of the total cost of a big business. This makes feed one of the most important factors in how well the business works.
The significance of feed planning
Did you know that pigs are very sensitive to interruptions in their nutrition? That’s why Salmond deems it critical to always maintain a consistent supply of feed.
Failure to do so, he points out, might result in decreased growth rates, decreased feed digestibility, higher stress because of disturbances, and increased aggressiveness.
He adds that disruptions in the flow of water should be treated with the same severity.
“The key to a gilt and self-feeding programme is to monitor and control their body weight, body condition and age whilst maintaining a healthy digestive system,” Salmond says.
In the episode, Salmond also unpacks:
- unrestricted feeding programmes;
- monitoring and controlling pig body weights; and
- swine performance.
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