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Sticker Shock – An Important Thing In Swine Production

- May 23, 2018 -

‘Sticker shock’–an important thing in swine production

The best inspiration for improvements in the swine business are often found when doing completely other things. Dr. Kathy Bradley, a pig feed technologist, had some great ideas when considering buying a new truck.

Recently, my husband and I went shopping in trucks because we needed more 'dragging power' for our future campers and colts for Arthur. This is still under consideration! However, despite this, I was tired of hearing about the lack of traction, so we went to buy a new truck.

As it always happens, we test the cheapest options and then upgrade with the ideal motor height option. Of course, this is an easy choice, and I don't experience "sticker shock" until I see the price. I carefully considered and viewed buying as an investment and the next step in our family plan.


The “sticker shake” in North American English is the panic that potential buyers of a particular product encounter when they find a high price or high price. Photo:

The real challenge in pig production

"Sticker shock" is also a real challenge in the field of pig nutrition. There are many different feed additives, and at a higher rate of inclusion in the EU for antibiotic free diets, and in the United States, the initial cost is an obstacle.

When we discuss the results of the trial, we usually talk about average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), feed conversion ratio (FCR), and feed margin (MOF), which do not help. Although mortality, antibiotic treatment or injections in water are not always evaluated. This is because these parameters do not have a normal distribution and are difficult to analyze with ANOVA.

Vitamin supplements

Vitamin supplementation is the main example of "stickers" at the end of 2017 and early 2018, and the shortage of specific vitamins has shocked many manufacturers' stickers.Margins of safety and/or over-consumption become a big discussion between nutritionists and financial professionals.

Will these short-term changes be permanent? I'm not sure, but I know why I set up a safety margin because everything is fine until something goes wrong! If something goes wrong, then the feed that is always blamed first!

With the changes of the US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the veterinary feed directive (VFD) and pressure from consumers, antibiotics are not just a fashion but the new normal for animal production. When we allowed ourselves to start marketing antibiotic free claims, we lost the war. All meats for sale should be free of antibiotics!

Using feed additives to correct sow mortality

Recently, I was asked what kind of mixed feed additive to use in order to help nutritionally correct sow mortality and/or improve the performance of her offspring. First of all, I clarified that the perceived barrier to entry into the market would be 6-10 US dollars per sow per year. I went on to say that I think it might cost about $20/sow/year. As a dietitian, persuading producers to increase costs as an investment is difficult. If a pig dies after the first nest, the producer often forgets to calculate a major loss.

Not only do we need to better understand the application of feed additives, but we also need better analysis and diagnosis to make more information-rich decisions in many ways: nutrition, health, and management. Some of these ideas may bring the initial “sticker shock” but may be the right investment for the future of the pig industry.


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