Finishing Nutrition

On a percentage basis, most of the feed used for a swine production enterprise goes into finishing pigs from 50 pounds (about 10 weeks of age) up to slaughter weight. During this period pigs typically require about 3 pounds of feed per pound of gain. So if the pigs are sold or slaughtered at 275 pounds (about the national average), they will consume somewhere in the neighborhood of 675 pounds of feed each.

Throughout the growth period we strive to minimize the cost of gain. For pigs weighing more than 35 pounds, simple corn and soy diets support good performance, but the formulation should be adjusted frequently as pigs grow heavier.

For finishing pigs you have two options for offering feed. You can either offer a limited amount of feed each day or feed pigs via a self-feeder. Most finishing pigs are self-fed becauseit takes less labor, pigs can eat anytime they want, and pigs usually grow faster because they consume more feed each day.

One of the biggest places you can control feed costs is by limiting feed waste. Ideally adjusted self-feeders are only half covered in feed.

Mycotoxins are produced by molds. Mold growth can occur under a variety of conditions. The most common factor is the presence of moisture. For example, as feed grains are approaching harvest, high amounts of rainfall can contribute to mold on the grain while it’s still in the field. After harvest, if the moisture content is fairly high and the grain is not dried properly, mold growth will occur in the storage bin. Finally, once grain is ground, it is more susceptible to mold growth especially under damp conditions. It’s important to note that the mycotoxins and generally not the molds, are the culprit that affect performance in the pig.

Feed for finishing pigs is one of the most costly inputs for any swine operation. Strategies such as limit feeding, feeder adjustments, and reducing protein as pigs grow help to maximize efficiency and profit.