AHDB Pork’s team works with pig producers and pork processors providing tools and information to help their businesses. At the same time, it works with the pork supply chain to promote pork to consumers and develop new export markets. AHDB Pork’s mission is to help English pig production and processing businesses become more competitive and profitable.
Creep feeding pigs is one of several ways to reduce overall feed costs, discussed by nutritionist Dr Steve Jagger from ABN during our latest live online workshop.
Steve said that: ”Starter feed for pre-weaning piglets is small proportion of all feed costs at 4% and the improved growth post-weaning means it is well worth it.
“One trial showed that piglets eating 4.55kg each of starter feed are worth £1.21 more per pig, as margin over feed, than piglets eating just 3.89kg each.”
This equated to a saving of £266 per tonne of overall feed costs, because the pigs’ feed conversion efficiency, growth rate and value at slaughter were improved, without intakes of grower feed having to increase significantly in the later stages.
Steve continued to show how priorities change at different stages between birth and slaughter. “It is important to know the growth curve for your particular unit. For, example, there are major differences in dietary requirements in the late finishing stage, especially when taking pigs to higher slaughter weights, so producers could consider a late finishing diet.
“We should also be feeding pigs according to current, achieved performance at each stage. High specification diets can have a lot higher potential than is actually being achieved. Once you’ve assessed requirements you can adjust the feeding programme, try an alternative diet or maybe increase the number of diets. The aim is to reduce oversupply of nutrients to therefore reduce feed costs and improve efficiency.”
Steve concluded with how important it is to measure growth performance and feed usage. “There should be a continual cycle of measurement and improvement.”
If you have any questions or thoughts on this, please use the comments box below and, to find out more about more, download the presentation and listen to the workshop here.