Management of Swine Not Using Antibiotics for Niche Production
David Stender, Swine Field Specialist, Northwest Area
Niche producers typically are prohibited from the use of cost saving technologies in order to receive a premium price. No documentation exists verifying that the premium covers the potential extra cost in a niche market system. I have been working on developing a niche swine production handbook. Over the past year, I have made presentations regarding the handbook to over 500 niche producers. After a year of such trainings a follow-up survey was given to over 75 niche producers to find out if changes were actually adopted as return of the trainings over the past year, 29 surveys were returned and summarized.
As a result of a niche production presentation the following changes in swine niche operations have been documented in post meeting follow-up survey:
- Keep feeders shut tighter.
- Cleaned waterers more often.
- Lowered protein level & use no creep feed.
- Better feeder adjustment.
- Begin to breed sows in 5-day window.
- Keep better records.
- Adjusting feeders Farrowing only 2 times per year.
- Feeder adjustment.
- Adjusting Feeders.
- Feed changes Saved $1000 in February of 06 alone.
- Feed costs decreased under changes.
- Stopped using expensive creep feed only sows milk & sow feeders.
- ISU record keeping.
- I now purchase all my feed from one supplier who is able & willing to make feed to my specs.
- Rotational grazing.
- More vaccinations.
- Signed up for niche pork diagnostic & record keeping program.
Out of 29 respondents the following have stated that they made changes as result of information received:
- Twenty (69%)operations have used general information from last years talk to make improved herd management decisions.
- Twenty-five (86%) operations have adjusted feeders more often attempting to reduce wastage.
- Thirteen (45%) operations implemented a change in pig flow trying to batch farrow groups of sows to narrow the range in weaning ages within a group.
- Eleven (38%)operations started to implement all-in, all-out.
- Seventeen (57%) operations have cleaned waterers more often providing clean fresh water.
- Fourteen (48%) operations have made adjustments in their nutrition program to help lower the cost of gain. For example, feeding smaller amounts of expensive creep feed or feeding a higher carbohydrate diet.
The values of the changes are reported:
Thirteen out of twenty-nine estimated a value to their operation. These are small operations averaging about 20 sows farrow to finish. Ninety two percent estimated the value at $500 or over. The value of benefit sited by these sample 13 operations totaled $27,375.
April 6, 2006
108 - Iowa Pork Industry Center
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July 9, 2006
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