With record profits projected for this year, even in the face of a shortage of pigs due to the PEDv outbreak, many producers have begun thinking about appropriate reinvestment strategies. Lately I’ve begun thinking about the need for repair/replacement in our nursery and grow-finish facilities.
The first ‘Farmland’ fully slatted 960 hd grow-finish barns were constructed in Iowa beginning in 1991. These facilities are now 23 years old and have housed pigs in times of relatively good profits and in times of massive losses. The general conversion of Midwest grow-finish facilities from Cargill floors and partial slats can be traced from that time with many of our production facilities approaching 20 years of use.
Generally repairs have not been a scheduled item due to unsure cash flows from profits. Rather, repairs often get done on an as-needed basis – fix the gating because the pigs broke it, fix the fan because it stopped running, patch the slats because of a broken slat, etc.
We are at the point in many facilities where some serious questions need to be asked about repairs versus replacement. I don’t have good answers for when to replace versus repair, but this may be the year for a hard look at your repair/replace needs in facilities.