Increasing Profits: Feed Optimization

You really have about three options and their variations on procuring feed ingredients at the best possible price. The options which are before you will be somewhat dictated by whether you can make your own feed or whether you must buy it as complete. We will deal with those shortly but before we think about buying feed right, let's take a look at how you are using it currently.

So regardless of your feed procurement strategy, the first thing you should do is to check the following things:

1. Is your feeding program (feed budget) optimized for your genetics and the current ingredient prices.

2. Is your feeding program being carried out exactly as it has been planned. You can relatively easily check to make sure that all animals are being properly moved to the next diet at the weight or time frame that you have in your budget. The most common problem here is lingering at the higher cost early feeds longer than called for in the budget. This is not uncommon especially if you are depending on vendors to automatically make the switch. Audit the deliveries and time frames and then check invoices to see if they match up. I will bet you find that high cost feeds are fed too long.

3. Make sure your selling weight is optimized for your current final finishing diet and the packer sort matrix. Most people now are probably selling a little too heavy. Remember that the wider the variance in your average marketing loads, the lower will be your average target weights in order to OPTIMIZE the income from the entire load. Time spent on narrowing the variance of weights is very important at this time since as you do, the optimal load average weight goes up.

4. Make sure the micron size is correct. Feed ground too finely not only increases the chance of ulcers and death at heavy weights but can lead to waste in the grind and mix and in the overall deliverly process to the feeder.

5. Make sure someone in actively managing feeders to ensure that they are set properly and that animals are not wasting feed.

Those five items will often save producers up from 5-15% on their current feed bills when optimized. Start optimizing. Audit, compare actual with what is supposed to be happening and force adjustments.