Growing up we can all remember those times when your mother yelled at you “stop eating like a pig”. Although she may have been referring to the mess you were making, pig farmers like me know exactly what it takes to eat like one.
Pig feed is one of the most important aspects of a hog operation. On my farm we make our own feed to ensure high quality products are being fed to keep our animals healthy and happy. With the help of a professional swine nutritionist, we are able to make custom recipes (rations), including exactly what the pigs need at each growth stage.
The ingredients my farm uses to make feed are all sourced in Ontario. The main ingredients included in our pig feed are corn, soybean meal and a premix which is specially formulated with vitamins and minerals to meet all of the needs of the pigs at each of their specific growth stages. Depending on what age of animals the feed is going to, our farm may also include soy hulls, wheat shorts, dried distiller grains with solubles, bakery meal, and roasted soybeans.
|Corn||Grown on our own fields or neighbours fields|
|Soybean Meal||Hamilton, a byproduct of crushing soybeans for oil|
|Premix||Cambridge and Exeter, specifically formulated for each growth stage|
|Soy Hulls||Hamilton, skin of the soybeans after crushing for oil|
|Wheat Shorts||Mississauga, byproduct from flour mills|
|Dried Distiller Grains with Solubles||Alymer, byproduct of ethanol plant|
|Bakery Meal||St. Petersberg, byproduct from donuts, buns, cookies, timbits etc. that do not meet the requirements for human consumption|
|Roasted Soybeans||Grown on our own fields, roasted as pigs cannot digest them raw|
Our farm makes feed 2-3 times a week with an automated system. To make feed we first log-on to our computer feed mixer program and put in an order by telling it how much feed we want made. The computer figures out how many batches of feed it needs to blend to make the total amount needed. After the order is planned, we hit the send button and the feed system starts.
The ingredients are held in separate bins and are automatically weighed by the computer as they get augured into the mixer which can hold up to 2000kg at one time. Before the corn and roasted soybeans are added to the mixer, they get ground by the hammer mill. This increases the surface area and allows for better digestion by the pig. Once each ingredient is added, the mixer will mix for 2 minutes to ensure everything is blended. After fully mixed, the feed goes to a storage bin which allows for the next batch to start.
Once the computer has completed the order and all the feed is in the overhead storage bin we load our feed truck.
We back the truck under the bin and open a slide and the feed falls in.
This truck will haul the load to one of our farms and unload it with a pneumatic blower into an unloading pipe which goes into the feed bin.
There is a feed auger that goes from the feed bin and fills the feeders in the barn. The auger is on a timer and runs three times a day. When the feed fills the last feeder up, a sensor turns the auger off. The pigs eat from the opening at the bottom of the feeder. They also can grab a drink of water while they are there.
So there we have it folks, an overview of the processing of making feed, delivering it and feeding to the pigs. I hope you learned a thing or two from it. Feel free to ask any questions.