Swine Grist - Fall 2023

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Swine Grist



VOLUME 25, ISSUE 2 | FALL 2023

Dear Friends,

With the “sudden” arrival of September, dare I say, “Fall Greetings” from all of us at Grand Valley Fortifiers! Since our last Grand Valley Grist, Ontario producers have experienced a very wet and seemingly cooler summer than anticipated. I say “seemingly cooler” because in recent article, Adam Parker of Maizex Seeds indicated that as of July 24th, the summer of 2023 has in fact, provided more heat units than historical averages in every province in the chart except for Quebec.

We are excited to announce the addition of Emily Miller and Jan Huisman to our swine resource team. Emily will provide leadership and development to our On-Farm Business Intelligence focused team members while commercializing a number of technology tools and software platforms that allow producers to better manage their swine business. Jan Huisman also joins our team of Production Improvement Specialists, focusing on barn walks with producers and their veterinarians, helping to ensure that the producers that we have the privilege working with achieve the best possible production at the lowest possible cost. We are also very pleased to be welcoming Kayla Silva back to our monogastric nutrition team. Since working with us a few years ago, Kayla has become a proud mother and garnered new experiences and learnings, working with one of our key suppliers, DSM.

With the tight and even negative margins that producers have experienced in the past 18 months, up and until the hog price surge in early July, we have devoted most the space in this edition of the Swine Grist to information that is focused on cost saving tips and advice as well as ways of knowing your nursery and grower/finishing performance data to allow for precision, herd specific nutrition programs. Unfortunately, hog futures markets and stubbornly high soymeal costs don’t point to strong hog margins for some months so together, we will work with producers to allow them to be as profitable as possible. Not withstanding the tight margins of 2022/2023, it is exciting to have attended the Grand Opening of the new Swine Research Centre in Elora last week. Canada has already proven itself to be one of the most efficient and sustainable producers of pork in the world. These state of the art facilities and the research and development that will take place there will allow us to continuously improve our production performance on farm, allowing us to be the best producers of pork in the world.

We are very much looking forward to visiting with you at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show on September 12-14. Our tent space is on the corner of middle machinery mall and 9th line. Be sure to come see us, grab a coffee, water, pork snack and some ice cream, pull up a chair and catch up!

Sincerely, Ian Ross, President & CEO, GVF group of companies


As the Canadian swine industry continues to drive towards lower production costs, higher efficiencies, updated housing and later weaning, feeding programs need to continue to adapt as well. Certainly, over the last decade we have witnessed more pigs per litter, later weaning ages, and higher average weaning weights, with bigger weight ranges within those weaning weights. Embracing the realities of this ever changing swine market, the nutrition team at Grand Valley Fortifiers and Fortified Nutrition Limited, in collaboration with the nutritionists at AB Neo in the UK and Spain have updated and simplified the recommended nursery

feeding program from the Grand Valley Fortifiers. This update includes the launch two new products, BioForce® Initiate and BioForce® Propel. Recognizing that not all nursery operators have the same nursery performance goals, we are pleased to launch three recommended feeding regimes for conventional producers to consider embracing in their nursery operations.

Grand Valley Fortifiers Ltd. PO Box 726, Cambridge ON, N1R 5W6 1006704
PO Box 726 Cambridge ON N1R 5W6 1-800-567-4400 |
Ian Ross, President & CEO | David Ross, VP & CMO Martin Clunies, Ph.D. | Adam Totafurno, M.Sc. | Youngji Rho, Ph.D., | Drew Woods, Monogastric Nutritionists | Curtis Ebanks, Layout Editor

With the launch of the new BioForce® Initiate and BioForce® Propel, we have taken the opportunity to run several side by side trials with these products both in Ontario and in Manitoba. The following trial summary is indicative of the comparative results that we are achieving with the two recommended pelleted feeding programs (BioForce® and BioSure®) indicated in the table above.

Grand Valley Fortifiers will promote a device that hangs over the nursery feeder that is also internet enabled and tracks feed conversion on an ongoing, real time basis. Once these devices are deployed along side of the in-pen scales, producers will have the same information provided in the trial data above, on an on-going basis for their own nursery operation, allowing them to monitor the results and truly understand their cost per kg of gain and margin over feed.


For many people in the swine industry the term LCF is a common one, yet we really don’t know exactly what it means or how the process works. In this article, I’ll aim to shed more light on the subject, particularly as it applies to our current market conditions where feed and formula management are key to savings and success.

While the acronym means (L)east (C)ost (F)ormulation many people misinterpret the word least to mean it is lowering the quality of the feed. This is the exact opposite of what this process does for a formulator or producer. In order to remove this initial thought, we should consider renaming it Best Cost Formulation or even better Optimal Cost Formulation. These words do a better job indicating what it is all about.

LCF formula management is a cornerstone of the modern feed industry because it allows for routine updating and management of formulas in order to capture savings of opportunity ingredients or to mitigate the impact of higher input costs. One thing that is vital to remember about LCF is that the formula is always updated using a nutrient specification or “spec”. This set of minimums and maximums on all ingredients available, as well as the key nutrients needed for that stage of production, act as a set of rules that the formula has to abide by. The system does not reduce feed quality or replace high value products on its own because these specifications don’t allow it to do so. A nutritionist must be the one who sets up the values and ensures that the system is not creating solutions that do not adhere to the rules. When formulas are not allowed to move freely and alter their composition according to market conditions, we can experience what is known as Nutritional Drift. This would be where a diet that is locked in place starts drifting further and further from its original nutrient composition due to changes in the raw materials. For instance, if we created a diet that had 200 kg of soybean meal but the protein content of the soybeans changed from 48% down to 45%, this would cause a change in the nutrient density of the feed. Without accounting for this change by altering the formulas and either increasing soybean meal or supplementing with amino acids, we have drift, and the diet would no longer perform as it once had.

When we create specs to ensure feeds are being maintained at the proper nutrient and ingredient levels, we can implement techniques that allow us to control them. One of these is called a swing value. A swing value ensures that an ingredient used in a feed can only move up or down in each version of the diet by a set amount. This ensures diet quality, continuity of composition and prevents palatability issues that could be experienced with large entries or withdrawals of ingredients. Swing values vary by stage of production and feed composition but are an essential aspect of ensuring that diets are granted the flexibility in an LCF to move and take advantage of opportunities formulation without creating an issue.

An LCF methodology is an important aspect of any nutrition business who want to maintain control of product integrity and cost structure. The implementation of this type of management practice is best done by an experienced nutrionist who has learned the fine points of the formulation system being used and has access or knowledge of ingredient composition. With these factors in place an LCF can be an extremely valuable tool for company and customer alike.

These early results indicate that both the BioSure® and the BioForce® pelleted nursery feeds are performing exactly the way they were designed to perform in the nusery. We are pleased to offer these two recommended early nursery feed programs to producers, allowing them to select which program best suits their nursery feed cost and performance goals. We are also excited to witness the number of producers who are installing internet enabled in-pen scales that allow for the on-going real time tracking of nursery pig growth (please see the related article in this edition of the Grist). We are also hopeful that in the near future, both Fortified Nutrition and


Over the last few years, we as a team have tried to bring new and easy ways to track data on-farm to our customers across the country. Data is important for agricultural business operations because it allows for accurate decisions to be made in real-time, not waiting until the end of

Producer Priorities BioForce® Initiate & Propel pellets BioSure® Surge & Respond pellets BioForce® Piglet 320 & BioForce® Piglet 180 (on-farm nursery feed) Feed Cost per tonne $$ $$$ $ Feed Intake +++ +++ ++ Feed Conversion ++ +++ + Average Daily Gain ++ +++ ++ Nursery Pig Exit Weight ++ +++ + Feed Budget per Pig $$ $$ $ Cost per kg gain Doesn’t measure Measures & Prioritizes Doesn’t measure “+” = level of priority for the producer
Feeding Program BioSure® Surge & Respond pellets BioForce® Initiate & Propel pellets # of Pigs In 174 209 # of Pigs Out 174 209 Livability % 100% 100% Days on Trial 10 10 Weight In (kg/pig) 6.76 6.42 Weight Out (kg/pig) 10.19 9.16 Average Daily Gain (g) 343 274 Feed Consumed (kg/pig) 2.53 2.58 Daily Feed Intake (g) 253 258 Feed Conversion Ratio 0.74 0.94 Feed Cost/Pig (comparison) 100% 85% (15% lower cost/ pig) Feed Used kg/pig 1.03 kg Surge, 1.49 kg Respond 1.05 kg Initiate, 1.53 kg Propel Margin over feed ($/pig) $5.47 $4.08 Margin over feed = (Weight gain of pig *$3) – Feed cost. All feeds were medicated with Chlor/Tiamulin

a group of pigs. In tough times like these, accuracy is important because we need to make sure we are farming smart by fine tuning areas of production in order to save cost and increase efficiency. Maximizing feed conversion, growth and efficiency is critical in order to find cost savings in day-to-day production.

Several dozens of our customers in Western Canada have readily utilized the PigScale which is an in-pen scale taking voluntary pig weights to view both daily, weekly and batch trends in order to make management decisions such as changing feeding regimes, feed time changes, vaccination times etc. In the east we are also in the preliminary stage of testing out a Gestal nursery feeder to go along with these in pen scales in order to capture real time feed data as well in order to really have full oversight of either nursery or finishing production by measuring feed per pig, feed conversion and cost.

On April 1st, 2023 the Federal, Provincial and Territorial (FPT) governments launched a 5-year, 3.5 billion program to strengthen Canadian competitiveness, innovation and resiliency in the Agriculture sector. $2 billion dollars was from FPT cost shared initiatives and $1 billon in federal activities and programs.

The Federally funded programs fall under three key areas. The first is Growing Trade and Expanding Markets through expanding exports, seizing new market opportunities and building capacity and support within the sector. Second, by providing Innovative and Sustainable Growth of the Sector through innovation and science, and last Supporting Diversity and a Dynamic, Evolving Sector through their AgriDiversity and AgriAssurance Program. A link to these programs and information on eligibility and application process for federal funding can be found at: www.agriculture.canada.ca/en/department/initiatives/sustainablecanadian-agricultural-partnership

The $2 billion FPT cost-shared programs are administrated by each of the provinces. Each of the Provinces support the vision of The Guelph Statement” with the 5 key priorities of; Tackling climate change and environmental protection; Have continued and targeted investments in science, research and innovation; Support sustainable and economic agricultural growth by helping Canadian businesses to meet domestic and global marketplace challenges; Building sector capacity and growth in value added agri-food and agri-products, and ; Enhancing resiliency to anticipate, mitigate and respond to risks.

Each of the provinces will control the rollout timing, opportunities and administration of their programs separately. Some may elect to release all their projects at once, while others, such as Ontario, are offering new opportunities every couple of months.

Currently in Ontario there are two programs open. They are the Grow Ontario Market Initiative, which helps eligible agri-food businesses and industry organizations to expand markets of Ontario Food Products, and the second program is under the Promoting Agriculture and Food Careers Initiative to fund support for agricultural societies to promote agrifood careers. There are two upcoming funding opportunities not released yet. One is the meat Processors Capacity Improvement Initiative and the second is the Biosecurity Enhancement Initiative to enhance animal health and welfare, plant health and food safety in their sector. More about these Ontario funding opportunities can be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/sustainable-canadian-agricultural-partnership For more information on programs that are available, please contact Bruce Schumann, Director, Sustainability, Regulatory Compliance and Quality Assurance.



We all know the saying that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”. This is a statement that is both simple and extremely valid. When tough times come and we want to make changes we need the best information possible to guide those decisions. If we don’t keep proper records or know how to harvest the knowledge contained in them we are making changes without full insight. Working through sow records or closeouts is an excellent way to spot trends, eliminate inefficiencies and help eliminate items that are not pulling their weight in the barn. If you are not sure how to do proper data mining and evaluation that’s ok, there are experts at

your benchmarking service, or elsewhere in the industry who are more than happy to assist. This leads me directly into my next item.

Involve all your stakeholders:

We tend to want to try and fix problems ourselves but with complex businesses like swine operations that is not always the best approach. Taking the team approach will always garner better outcomes. Call a meeting with your vet, your genetics supplier, your feed rep and anyone else who can help influence your bottom line.

Everyone mentioned above is a source of tips, tricks, feedback and information to help you re-align your production and make sure you are doing what is best for your business and your animals during this market downturn. Asking for help can be hard but the result is always worth it.

Be a tortoise and not a hare:

Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to working through difficult markets. Snap decisions and operating out of fear only lead to poor outcomes. Take your time and ensure you are comfortable with the decisions you are making and that benefit your business not just in the immediate but in the long term. Remember, tough times don’t last, tough people do. You want to make sure you do not make a rash change that may save money in the short term but will impede your business in the medium and long term future. This could include things like letting your parity structure get skewed, reducing the cost and quality of feed to the point you impair growth and reproduction while increasing feed conversion or by cutting back on herd health expenses. While all of these sound tempting in the short term they have knock on effects that will slow any return to normal profitability in the future.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure:

Moving along with the health theme, don’t ignore preventative measures in the barn. Whether that be routine vaccinations, keeping up on barn maintenance or maintaining your presence in the barn managing the animals. Small individual efforts add up to a large sum at the end of the day. Trying to prevent issues before they become large is key right now. Walk the pens and pull sick or poor doing pigs immediately and deal with them accordingly, losing a market hog to a fixable problem is always unfortunate and preventable. Don’t fall into half dosing vaccines or even skipping them, there are always nasty bugs just waiting for an opportunity to show up and wreak havoc. Finally, don’t let the animal environment fall into disrepair. It is hard to warrant investing time, and money into the barn but the maintenance bill will always be cheaper than the inevitable repair bill that comes from ignoring the issue.



ELORA - A new $20-million Ontario Swine Research Centre opened today will enhance the province's capacity for research, innovation and the development of new technology to benefit Ontario pork producers and consumers

Representatives of the University of Guelph, the Ontario government, the Government of Canada and Ontario Pork celebrated the opening of the centre today in Elora, Ont.

The new facility results from a collaborative investment from the Government of Ontario, the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO) and Ontario's pork industry, and is the newest addition to the provincial network of research centres owned by ARIO and managed by the University of Guelph through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance.

"The University of Guelph has a long history of working with government and industry partners to drive innovation and support growth in the agrifood sector," said University President Dr. Charlotte Yates. "We thank the Government of Canada, the Ontario Government, the Agricultural Research

Swine Grist grandvalley.com

Institute of Ontario, and Ontario Pork for their leadership in making this critical investment.

She added, "The Ontario Swine Research Centre will allow U of G experts to advance research and knowledge, bring new livestock innovations to the farm and train the next generation of talent, in support of a thriving pork sector in Ontario and beyond."

"The opening of the Ontario Swine Research Centre is a perfect example of what can be achieved when industry, academia and government collaborate," said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "This strategic investment will help fuel leading-edge research to advance Ontario's pork sector with respect to herd health, consumer demand and production efficiencies.

"The Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario is pleased to support this modernized swine facility that we know will advance the province's swine sector long into the future," said ARIO Chair Lorne Hepworth. "The Ontario Swine Research Centre serves as another example of how the research centres located at Elora and across the province are an integral part of the agri-food research system in Ontario.


Rejoining the team with enriched experiences and renewed energy, we welcome back Kayla Silva to her role as Monogastric Nutritionist.

Born in Toronto, Kayla's path led her to the University of Guelph, where she was the sole student in her high school year to journey into the field of agriculture and animal science. After completing her BSc. in Animal Science, she then obtained her MSc in Swine Nutrition under the guidance of Dr. Kees de Lange and Dr. Lee-Anne Huber.

Her research focused on amino acid metabolism, specifically the importance of non-essential amino acids in low crude protein diets and their effect on growth performance and collagen abundance in nursery pigs. She found that when supplementing Glycine and Serine (non-essential amino acids) collagen abundance in the skin was similar to a conventional corn and soybean meal diet meaning that non-essential amino acids should be examined further when formulating low crude protein diets.

After spending two fulfilling years with Grand Valley Fortifiers, Kayla then embraced a new challenge in 2020, delving into animal nutrition across a spectrum that included zoo animals, pets, and various livestock, examining ingredients in-depth, and became a global expert in Near-Infrared (NIR) analysis with DSM Nutritional Products. These rich experiences have transformed her into a more well-rounded individual, equipping her to make an even greater impact within the company.

Kayla’s key responsibilities at GVF include assisting producers and supporting Swine specialists with nutritional issues and questions, formulation requests, and ensuring new data is analyzed to assist with ongoing product development.

The new centre will accommodate research in diverse disciplines, including nutrition, animal health and welfare, production economics, consumer- oriented research, environmental factors, genetics/genomics, nutrient management and reproduction.

John de Bruyn, Board Chair of Ontario Pork, said, "Ontario Pork's ongoing investment in research and development follows a long tradition of swine research in Ontario and represents a renewed commitment by pork producers and industry partners in their dedication to continuous improvement in the pork industry."

The provincial and federal governments also announced an investment of $1.75 million through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership for a feed distribution system and electronic sow feeders at the centre.

"The new swine research centre will contribute to the development of knowledge and improvement of best management practices already being applied on hog farms in Ontario," said Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield on behalf of Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. "Investments in research and innovation ensure the hog sector have the tools they need to remain economically competitive and productive in a sustainable way."

The Ontario Swine Research Centre is the latest addition to a site that houses the Ontario Beef Research Centre and the Ontario Dairy Research Centre. All three facilities reflect successful academic-industry-government partnerships that provide critical research infrastructure and technical expertise for research on today’s pressing livestock priorities.

U of G swine research will be relocated from the Arkell Research Station to the new research centre.

Thought for the Day

Psalm 128:1-2 NIV

“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him.

2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.”

Kayla can be reached at: kaylasilva@grandvalley.com | 226-228-2381

We are happy to announce that Emily Miller joined Grand Valley Fortifiers in the role of Monogastric On-Farm Technology and Product Performance Specialist. Emily will manage our On Farm Business Intelligence programs for our customers. She will also be responsible for planning and leading trials with customers, and key industry partners as part of the Innovation team at GVF.

Emily will work to develop comprehensive understanding of our Product Lines, new Innovations and Technologies. Emily has a PhD from the University of Guelph in Swine Nutrition, and an extensive background in Nutrition, Marketing and Innovation. We believe this experience and knowledge are a great asset to help our customers be successful in their nutrition and production.

Emily can be reached at: emilymiller@grandvalley.com | 226-748-4373

We are pleased to announce that Jan Huisman has joined Grand Valley in the role of Production Improvement Specialist. Jan has a good deal of expertise in Swine production that he will utilise to support and develop our customers.

He will work closely with our Business Livestock Consultants to service customers, recommend management practices and help our customers efficiently improve their animal performance. Jan has an extensive background originally working on-farm in the Netherlands where he developed a strength for Swine Production and Management and with a global genetics leader. Since moving to Canada, Jan has worked with many Swine producers in Ontario. We look forward to seeing his knowledge at work for our existing and prospective customers.

Jan can be reached at: janhuisman@grandvalley.com | 226-753-7650

EMILY MILLER Monogastric Specialist JAN HUISMAN Monogastric Specialist
VISIT WITH US AT… …on Middle Machinery Mall & 9th Lane SEPT. 12-14, 2023
KAYLA SILVA Monogastric Nutritionist
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