Good quality feeds have a big impact on the profitability of the pig project. It is not the cost of the feeds but the quality of the feeds that count.
The biggest impact is on the starter meal for the first 3 months of a pig’s life. Piglets have a better feed conversion ratio than porkers and baconers. It is imperative therefore that piglets are introduced to starter meal in the second week. This is made more important by the fact that a sow reaches maximum production of milk in the third week. After three weeks the sows milk does not increase but the piglets need more nutrients. Starter meal is introduced to the piglets on the second week placed on the creep area where the sow cannot reach. This should be available to the piglets for up to three months.
At 3 months weaners should be above 20kg live weight. In Kenya 90% of the farmers who do not use starters only attain 10kg live weight at 3 months. These weaners are already stunted and will stay in the farm for an extra 2 months and eat on profit.
Cheap feeds also have lower energy level and poor quality protein. These ingredients absence affects breeding negatively resulting in poor litters and sows repeating service.
Poor quality protein are mostly from plant sources and are normally lacking some essential amino acid needed for good breeding.
Those essential animal protein amino acids are crucial in the early development of muscles in the piglets in their first three months of life.
Cheaper feeds mostly have moulds which also affects breeding negatively resulting in either dead or mummified piglets at birth.
Mouldy feeds are not palatable and result in porkers and weaners not taking enough nutrients and energy to gain the maximum weight gain desired by the farmers.
This whole scenario of slow growth and poor breeding means a lower thorough-put of pigs resulting in less baconers sold in a pig unit per year. The target is to ensure that each sow produces 24 baconers a year. The same sow should be in pig by the end of the year.