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Mixing your own swine feed

Quick facts

  • When you mix and formulate your own feed, you are responsible for maintaining feed quality.
  • Quality control is needed from the time you purchase feed ingredients to the time the pigs eat it.
  • Feed costs represent 60 to 70 percent of the total cost to produce a market hog making quality control key to successful production.

Mixing most or all of your feed makes you responsible for quality control. Quality control aspects of on-farm feed mixing often receives little attention. The National Pork Producer's Council developed the educational program "Pork Quality Assurance" with instructions on producing wholesome pork.

  • Researchers at Michigan State University found that 33 percent of feed samples vary more than 1 percent from desired crude protein levels.
  • Ohio State University found that only 20 percent of the sampled sow diets met or exceeded the sow’s nutrient needs for crude protein, calcium and phosphorus.
  • Thirty-four percent weren’t mixed or sampled properly.

Such errors in feed can have an economic impact on swine producers. Workers at Purdue University found when protein rises above 15 percent, feed costs increase but performance doesn’t improve in market hogs. Low-protein diets resulted in depressed average daily gain, poor feed efficiency and high production costs.

These results show the importance of quality control when mixing your own feed. The following tips can help you achieve quality control.

Use high quality ingredients

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How to mix and store feed

Accurate formulation makes sure the diet meets the needs of the specific pig.

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Testing your feed and feed ingredients

The key to a quality control program is periodic laboratory testing of ingredients and feed. These tests require you to take representative feed samples. If your samples aren’t representative, the test results won’t accurately reflect the nutrient content of your ingredients or feed.

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Lee J. Johnston, Extension animal scientist and Jerry Hawton, professor emeritus of swine nutrition and management, College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences.

Reviewed in 2018

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