Whether you are trying to maximize returns or minimize losses, there are areas of production that deserve your constant attention. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Swine Advisory staff offer these practical tips:

  • First, make sure you’re hitting the optimal point on your packers weight and carcass grid.
  • Ensure that feeders are properly adjusted to minimize feed waste.  For finishing pigs, consider restricting feed slightly, but that doesn’t mean letting feeders run empty. Consult with a swine nutritionist to formulate cost-effective rations. You don’t want to hurt growth rates but reviewing rations and feed buying strategies could help limit costs.
  • Explore ways to cut energy costs, such as installing more efficient lighting. Your energy provider can offer some specific suggestions. Reduce heat loss by checking curtains and other seals. Make sure that heaters, heating pads and the like are working properly and only when needed.  Clean all fans, thermostats, controllers, and inlet/outlet operating systems.
  • Don’t simply decide to cut back or pull out medications or vaccinations. Always consult your veterinarian before taking such action— the price for trying it on your own could be too high.
  • You might consider finding a market for your weaned pigs instead of finishing them out. Of course, this depends on your business and lending arrangements. Talk it through and draw up a plan before proceeding. Look around for tools and calculators that can help you assess your prospects.
  • Do a management “performance” review. What are you doing or not doing right? Be honest, everyone gets sloppy. Rather than continuing to do things as you’ve gotten set in your routine, see what you could change to honor the animals’ and workers’ well-being, sharpen production practices and limit costs.

Fine tuning an operation may not reveal large gains, but you may find several small items that can contribute to overall savings.