You often hear pig production being labelled a profitable livestock production business. If you were to ask on the best livestock production niche, the most likely answer you will get is pig production. For those who know that field it comes as no surprise. However, some might not fully grasp why pig production is recommended by many. On the other hand, people might also want to know the downside i.e. the disadvantages. No wonder it is necessary to have a discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of pig production. That is what this article is all about.
Advantages Of Pig Production
High Feed Conversion Efficiency
One of the biggest concerns in any livestock production is feed conversion. The ideal scenario is for as much of the feed as possible to be translated to body weight. This refers to what is called feed conversion efficiency. Thus the best desired outcome is for the feed conversion to be as high as possible. That way feed wastage is as minimal as possible. Plus, more importantly, the livestock appreciates high body weight which means more meat. Pigs have a very high feed conversion ratio, managing to reach at least 120 kilograms carcass weight in half a year. In fact, pigs have a much higher meat to bones ratio than other livestock. This is beneficial to the profitability of pig farming especially when you add in pigs’ short generation interval.
Feeds Or Nutrition Diversity
Still on feeds or nutrition, pigs can eat a wide variety of feeds. This is a plus in that you can find ways of reducing your feed costs. Even when far away or not easily accessible to commercial feeds, you have other feeding options to explore. Pigs can eat most readily available feeds such as fruits and vegetables – fresh or not so fresh. They have no problem eating leftover foods or damaged foods. Pigs can also forage for food as well. Pigs have no issues managing foods that are high in dietary fibres. All this combines to bring about feeds or nutrition diversity thus presenting the pig producer with more options.
Several Niching Options
There are several niching options in pig production. The broad ones are rearing pigs for meat or for breeding. When rearing them for meat it can be either to sell live pigs or to sell slaughtered ones (or actual meat). When it comes to breeding you can sell breeding stock, piglets, or weaners. Apart from the common meat i.e. pork, there are several other products that can be made from pigs. Some of them are bacon, lard, ham, sausages, polony, pig fat, and more. This all shows that a pig producer has several niching options from which to choose. This can open up opportunities to cater to wide and diverse markets, locally, regionally, and abroad.
Good Demand For Pig Meat And Products
Piggery farming is quite profitable for a number of reasons. That is why pig production is highly recommended due to good returns on investment. Pig production is also preferable due to how quickly one can recoup their initial capital investment. One of the reasons behind this is the high demand for pig meat and products. A good example is braais or barbeques, where meat is a key part of. You will notice in some regions that the most preferred meat is pork; this is just one example. Overall, pig meat and products are highly sought after due to their tastiness and superior nutritional quality as well. The global demand for pork was not even affected by the pandemic. So when one embarks on pig production they seldom struggle to find a solid market.
Disadvantages Of Pig Production
Pigs Can Be High Maintenance
Rearing pigs tends to be extremely demanding. Pigs consume lots of food which causes them to excrete a lot. That is why you have to always ensure they are clean and their housing environment is clean as well. Pigs can be easily affected by internal parasites which is why you have to closely monitor them. Pigs can also be notorious for breaking barriers to wander outside. If you have weak housing that can be a serious problem.
This means you need to or you need to have people onsite keeping an eye of them. Ideally, you would need to hire at least someone to cater to them. If slaughtering is involved it is a typically demanding exercise. These are some of the reasons that cause pigs to be high maintenance. That usually also gets exacerbated by the high cost of commercial feeds.
Costly Or Scarce Production Needs
As much as 75 percent of production costs go to feeding or nutrition of pigs. That is high enough as it already but it is not always the case that the feeds are easily available. There can be cases or circumstances that are characterized by scarcity of feeds or food for the pigs. As much as a pig producer can explore other non-commercial feeds options, at times they might not be easily available too. Two of some of the other pressing pig production needs are water and electricity. Those two can both be costly or not readily available. These dynamics can ultimately lead to poor pig or meat quality; even mortalities too.
Pork Consumption Is Not Universally Accepted
There is a huge segment of the global population that does not consume any pork or its derivatives. This is mainly due to religious beliefs and those who adhere to such doctrines are high in number. There can be whole regions or communities where these doctrinal issues are the norm. This can create market availability challenges for some pig producers.
If ever you have to evaluate the pig production business, these are some of the major insights. At least you can derive solace from the fact that disadvantages of pig production can mostly be managed. All in all, piggery farming remains laden with a number of advantages. This should encourage you to start pursuing or continue pursuing it.