10 November 1995

Feed enzymes can help to reduce costs

Feed enzymes have enabled one Dorset unit to offer cost-saving rations to both young and finishing pigs.

Jonathan Riley reports

STRATEGIC use of feed enzymes on one Dorset farm has reduced feed costs to below 30p/kg liveweight gained in young pigs.

In addition to its feed production business, Dorset-based farming company Hanford has five pig units with a total of 3500 sows and 1214ha (3000 acres) of arable. This provides some of the cereals for its home-milled and mixed wet-fed diets.

The first of their farms to use enzymes in the ration is Bourne Farm, Piddletrenthide, Dorset, which has a 1300-sow herd.

Hanford nutritionist Marcus Wood says: "We havent yet taken the plunge and introduced enzymes into all areas of the business. But we have introduced them successfully to young pigs and finisher pigs with excellent results.

"We have been wet feeding for about 20 years and were one of the first units to feed ad lib wet feed to flat deck pigs," says Mr Wood.

"To reduce overall costs we successfully introduced the wet ration including raw cereals to pigs from 15kg liveweight (lw).

"But, our aim was to reduce costs further by offering wet feed to even younger pigs, at about 8kg liveweight," he says. At this weight a highly digestible, very high energy density diet must be fed.

"Previously, the only way to wet feed at these weights was to include micronised wheat and a large proportion of milk, making the diet expensive, so we were feeding a conventional creep feed." Under this regime pigs weaned at an average of 6.5kg grew at about 410g/day up to 23.3kg lw, with a feed conversion ratio of about 1.7:1 and a feed cost a kilogram liveweight gained of 42.3p.

"Eighteen months ago we bought in Finnfeed Porzyme 8300, introducing it at about 1kg/t," he says. The ration now includes 300kg (30%) raw wheat, plus biscuits, milk/chocolate powder, waste yogurt, soya and fishmeal.

"We estimate the digestible energy of the wheat in the diet has been improved by between 5% and 10% from 8kg liveweight, and this has only cost about £3/t on a meal equivalent basis."

Growth rates are still about 400g a pig a day between weaning and 23kg, when they are moved on to the grower accommodation. But feed conversion ratio is 1.66:1 and feed costs have been reduced by 12.6p/kg to 29.7p/kg lw gained.

Post weaning days to slaughter at 90kg have also been reduced/ from 151 days to 138 days, up to an increased average of 94.9kg.

"There are other reasons for this reduction, such as new finisher accommodation with an improved feeder which has helped improve intakes, but the enzymes have certainly contributed," he says.

"Pigs in the new finishing house, where they are taken from about 60.6kg liveweight to about 94.9kg, are also fed enzymes.

"In the summer we used enzymes to help the pig to use new crop barley instead of old crop wheat. The barley cost £105/t, saving £10/t (£2000) on the diet for a month. Performance figures for finishing pigs did not differ with the change to barley; feed costs a kg liveweight gained of 29.42p. &#42