Pigs and money

Cereals and soybeans have become too expensive, even prohibitive, to use throughout the world.

As the new editor of Pig International, I should be writing about my background and vision for the magazine. I am sure an Internet search will reveal more about the first, whereas for the second, I am a strong believer in actions that speak louder than words.

What I really want to talk about is money; money pig producers should be adding to their bottom line instead of using it to pay cash for cereals and soybeans that have become too expensive, even prohibitive, to use throughout the world.

Just a couple weeks ago, I was talking to a group of pig producers. I was told that liquidity is so low that some farmers use on-credit hemoglobin (an even more expensive source of protein usually reserved for piglets) in their finishing feeds, instead of the common soybean meal that is scarce and cash-only. Others were selling pigs at 80 kilograms live weight, instead of the usual 110 kilograms because they run out of credit and cash to buy feed!

OK, we can blame the global financial crisis for the liquidity issue, but why raw material prices are so expensive and are they going to go down anytime soon? The answer to both questions is that as long as we feed our cereals to our cars (read bioethanol) there is no way prices will ever go down as pig producers cannot compete with the oil industry!

So, what can be done? We cannot really do anything about feed prices—at least at the farm level. On the contrary, we can work on reducing feed costs that is improving feed efficiency through genetics, nutrition, management, health and facilities.

And this will be the focus—helping pig producers save money!

So, watch out for Pig International