Olsen talks about prioritizing herd health

posted on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 in AMVC Veterinarians in the News

Commodity businesses are cyclical by nature, and pork production is no different. To make the most of market upsides and minimize the impact of downsides, producers need to maximize their production by controlling the factors they can, namely herd health.

The price of feed inputs, such as corn and soybean meal, can vary significantly from one year to the next, as do hog prices. “Those markets are going to change over time, up and down. They always do and there’s nothing you can do about them,” said Daryl Olsen, DVM with AMVC Management Services, LLC, Audubon, Iowa. That’s why, he says, producers need to stick to a solid production strategy focused on delivering the most pigs and pounds to market.

“The common cost equation we use is total expenses divided by number of pigs equals cost per pig,” he said. “The denominator is the number of pigs produced. Increasing that number usually has a larger impact on cost per pig than trying to reduce expenses.”

Controlling costs is important, he acknowledges, but maintaining good production – not losing pigs to health issues – becomes more important than trying to reduce expenses up front, especially during times of tight margins. Along with choosing superior genetics and making decisions that enhance finishing performance, stabilizing piglet health is a key part of efficient weaned pig production, said Olsen.

“Have a good herd health plan based on developing solid immunity, then stick with it through good economic times and bad ones. That’s how you develop herd health stability,” he said. “It’s never worth sacrificing performance for a small input savings upfront.”

Full credit for the article: Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc and Pork Network
Full article here.