Lower costs through efficient farm management

It is impossible to arrive at the best technical results without incurring costs for items such as transport, mortality-related costs, veterinary care, levies due for pig production, electricity, heating, bedding and water. However, feed is the largest single cost item. Feed can account for 70% of the total production costs and are logically an extremely important focus point for farmers. The price and quantity needed of feed are largely responsible for the financial results of the farm. 

To ensure the sale of pigs, chickens, mushrooms or eggs generates a healthy profit margin, the production costs have to be scrutinised very carefully. What your products ultimately sell for is generally beyond your sphere of influence - however, you can control your outgoing costs. One the main approaches is more efficient management of resources without compromising on the quality (and volume) of the end results. This focus on efficiency is even more crucial in the current situation of spiralling energy and feed prices. 

There are a number of points to be aware of:

Feed conversion 

Feed conversion is the number of kilograms of feed consumed for each kilogram of growth. Feed consumption is calculated as a net and gross figure. Gross feed consumption includes feed that has been wasted. With finishers or broilers, the number of kilograms of growth is determined by deducting the initial weight at setup from the end weight of the animals. The feed costs per animal supplied at the end of the cycle can be easily calculated using the calculated feed conversion rate and the feed price. This is one of the most important index numbers for the farmer. 

There is one essential condition to achieve optimal feed conversion -preventing downtime causes by technical defects and malfunctions.

Feed price

There is a huge diversity in types of feed. And that equally applies to the price of feed. An animal also needs different feed in its different life stages. For example, piglet feed is much more expensive than sow feed because it contains higher concentrations of (milk) protein. But a sow obviously needs a larger feed ration. So feeding sows with feed formulated for piglets is an unnecessary expense.

The recent upward trend in feed prices has made it even more important to maximise the returns on your investment in feed in the form of optimal technical results, and reduce unnecessary waste.

Waste

As well as improving factors such as the feed conversion rate, it pays to keep a sharp eye on spoilage and waste of valuable resources such as feed. Waste has a direct, negative impact on feed conversion. Waste is not only limited to just wasted feed. Providing more feed doesn't not necessarily lead to higher growth - it also means using more energy and water, for example. So ensure all the equipment is properly synchronised and that the settings take the outside climate into account. 

Waste costs money, but having fines imposed for failing to comply with statutory obligations is maybe the biggest waste of all. In fact, this is linked to the waste mentioned previously.

Statutory obligations

National governments are increasingly imposing legislation and regulations relating to sustainability and animal welfare that livestock farmers must comply with. One example is the Dutch Better Life label scheme. In addition, the impact of livestock production on the immediate surroundings is also attracting greater scrutiny. Taking measures to reduce the nuisance caused by odours or noise entails additional costs.

However, animal welfare and the environment are crucial factors in securing the long-term viability of the sector. This demands an innovative approach whereby the additional efforts and expense should be divided fairly across the supply chain. This necessitates a market that pays for carefully raised, sustainably produced food to safeguard the attractiveness of the sector for future generations. The True Price of food is expected to play a greater role in this respect in the future. The True Price creates transparency and insight into the real production costs - the market price plus the social and environmental costs -so that consumers can make more informed and conscious choices. It also offers buyers the opportunity to respond to this movement by adapting their offering to suit various markets.

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Climate

The house climate directly influences animal welfare, and therefore feed conversion. If the house climate remains in the animals' thermoneutral zone and creates the right apparent temperature, the feed intake will be optimal and considerably less feed will be wasted. A low temperature will cause a higher feed intake but this does not lead to a better growth performance because the energy needs to be diverted to other body functions to keep the animal warm. In other words, cold means feed is wasted.

Fancom can align its products to ensure the optimal climate conditions in the house, prevent waste of resources such as energy and water, and the create a constant thermoneutral comfort zone for the animals. This results in the highest possible feed conversion rate.

Read more about climate systems

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Feeding systems

Against the background of such high prices for feed, it is essential to offer the right feed in the right quantity at the right time to the right animal. Fancom has various feeding systems that allow feed consumption to be adapted to suit each, individual animal. In most cases, feed is only provided when the animal decides it wants to eat and as the feed is dispensed in small portions, waste is kept to a minimum.

Fancom helps users enter the correct settings in the controllers so the feeding systems automatically perform as expected. The result is optimal feed conversion at the lowest possible cost.

Read more about feeding systems

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Monitoring

A clear insight into all the processes in the house is an integral part of managing production costs on a farm. The automated processes in your house form a valuable source of information about the animals' environment, feed and water consumption and their behaviour.  Automatically collecting and analysing this data generates valuable information that allow you to steer towards efficient farm management.

Read more about monitoring

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