Being one of those people new and struggling pig farmers meet for some ideas about business, I listen to a lot of stories about investing in piggery – both good and bad. Unfortunately, I sometimes fail to convince some of my clients to do the right thing.
Exposing business reality makes them think that I am just killing their ambitions and positivity. “The man is negative”, they always say! Anyway, my role is not to convince, but rather suggest the most appropriate ideas to the profitability of the farm depending on available situations.
Decision making remains a privilege of the farm owner. Some pig farmers, most especially those doing it for the first time, deliberately fail to understand that the business of farming pigs falls under two broad categories and these are:
1. The traditional pig farming business
2. The modern pig farming business
Traditional pig farming has been here for some time. Pig farming did not start today; it was here since colonial times. Traditional pig farming is defined by use of simpler methods of production and inputs to grow pigs for sale. The objective of this category may be business or something else, for example:
👉 Some farmers keep pigs to fix their money so that it is recovered later with some appreciation. So their pigs are banks!
👉 Pigs are kept for home meat.
👉 Others keep pigs to dispose of non-commercial crop residues and Kitchen waste.
This is why this category of pig farming is characterised by:-
👉 Poor housing, tethering and free range.
👉 Use of free or cheap feedstuffs without considering their contribution (negative or positive) to performance of the pigs for example, kitchen waste, brewer’s waste, hotel/restaurant refuse or grazing.
👉 Use of cheaper genetics without performance considerations.
👉 Number of pigs kept do not depend on business feasibility.
👉 No record keeping.
👉 Longer lactation periods leading to fewer litters per sow per year.
👉 No biosecurity and vaccination plans.
The goal of a traditional pig farmer is to spend as little money as possible on growing pigs. A traditional producer may not care about time taken to produce the pig and amount of money got after sale.