2451 views 3 commentslast update:14 Jan 2016

Perfect piglet feed

Sometime ago, I was asked to make ‘the perfect’ piglet feed without regards to cost. Rightly so, a couple weeks later, the feed was ready and from the first field trials it was obvious pigs loved it. But the pig owners had other ideas.

The pig owners did not really appreciate the price tag that came along that feed. So, I was asked by the feed manufacturer to make the same feed but ‘cheaper’. OK, not the same, but about the same.

Now, the buyers really liked the feed or rather its lower price, but lamentably pigs did not share their enthusiasm; although they were sport enough to continue eating it. Expecting a marketing bonanza, I was asked next to make again ‘the same’ feed as cheap as possible, ignoring feed intake. At this point, the pigs really hated the feed and the producers were quite upset. At the end, the manufacturer was completely confused.

This is my favorite story. For me, it proves two points. First, you cannot have a good piglet feed at a low price. Good quality ingredients are not cheap. Fish meal is 1.4 euros per kg, premium grade whey is 0.90 euros per kg, plasma is 4.0 euros per kg. Do I need to go on?

Second, this is a good example of lack of proper marketing strategy prior to launching a new piglet feed. Obviously, there is a market for quality feed and there is a market for low cost feed. In my experience, those who try to play in both markets, lose patently!

Any such stories to share?

3 comments

  • Troy Shoen

    The term 'slop the hogs' has never been more apt than in today's swine markets. You have described correctly the challenge of feed manufacturers. How do you convince buyers that they should care about feed efficiency, DMI, litter uniformity, mortality when they are incentivized on cost alone?

  • H.A.E. VAN POPPEL

    Hello Ioannis,
    I have experienced the same practice. In the years 1970-1975 the piglets (still sucklings) loved the dry feed pellets (mainly based on milkproteins), which formula I changed in 1990 by (mainly extruded grains, rolled oats, roasted rice, premium grade whey, Danish fishmeal, plasma etc.) and still today the piglets love it with excellent results and less weaning - and after-weaning problems, however much more expensive on basis price per kilogramme of feed.
    After more than 20 years experience with this very tasty quality feed I only conclude that pigfarmers feeding this feed are still existing pigfarmers, but those others, who followed the market for low cost feed do not exist any longer and lost their money.
    Cheap goods are dearest in the long run !
    Harry VAN POPPEL

  • O2m_lore

    I will like to share my exprience with you, cause in Nigeria here farmer are facing so many thing

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