With both cloudy and sunny economic weather on the horizon, Hubbard Feeds advises producers to not only assess feeding strategies for pigs on feed that will be sold well below breakeven, but also those upcoming groups of weaners/feeders placed that will soon be placed on feed and marketed in the more profitable summer months.
As Lori Stevermer, Marketing Specialist, Hubbard Feeds points out — between now and next summer a lot is going to change — a new administration, VFD enactment, potential mycotoxin concerns, and possibly an additional 12 +/- million annual hog slaughter capacity.
So, should your feeding program changes be based upon market conditions? The answer, as always, is ‘it depends.’ Stevermer advises producers to consider these six factors:
- Some farms may be partially or fully hedged, or may have a ‘speculativ’” position in which only grain(s) are bought or hogs are sold.
- Some farms may opt to venture into non-antibiotic feeding rather than navigate VFD regulations.
- Pig health (enteric and/or respiratory challenges).
- Swine marketing, fully open to fully contracted, contracted based on what, cash and/or cut-out?
- Target market weight based on a fixed time or fixed weight production system.
- A true picture of ‘heavies’ and ‘lights’ being marketed.
Once all the factors are identified and understood, then an assessment of feeding strategies can accurately take place and the challenging task begins. There are a wide variety of adjustments that can be made to a feeding program ranging from changes in lysine and energy levels to the use of by-products and consideration of the appropriate levels of use.
Stevemer warns that once a modification has been made to a nutrition program it is important to remember that things change. For example, this December when hog markets are projected to be at a low, there are wean groups being placed on feed that will be marketed in profitable months of May and June, 2017. A feeding program that was designed to minimize losses for December pigs now may be changed to maximize returns for June pigs.