I recently reviewed the nutrition program of a local farm that belongs to a friend of mine. I was immediately struck by two aspects that I have seen in so many other places in the world.
- Old-tech ingredients
Quite often, an ingredient is available at a low price and it becomes quickly established as a staple in most formulas throughout a region. This was the case for wheat bran about 30 years ago, as is with dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) today. But, times change, and competition from ruminants and pets have caused prices for wheat bran to increase. Nevertheless, wheat bran remains a constant ingredient in many European formulas. Of course, pigs do not require wheat bran, as other ingredients can offer similar results in terms of constipation relief and gut motility. So, there is no need to use expensive wheat bran today, but here it was again.
- Additives with no purpose
I then noticed a mycotoxin binder in two formulas, but not in others -- all being used within the same farm. When I asked if the farm has or ever had a problem with mycotoxins, the answer was negative. A similar case was made against another additive, an enzyme, that has very limited value in a maize-heavy formulation. By removing these two additives, and assuming no change in performance will be observed, some substantial savings are expected. Time will tell, but in my experience this should be the case -- savings and no loss in performance.
I must admit that forgetting to update formulas is the most common cause of lost profitability, and I have seen this happening throughout the world, even in the most technologically advanced areas.
Ioannis Mavromichalis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.