PIG FARMING – LOW RISK BUT GOOD RETURN ON INVESTMENT|By Idika Aja

Pig farming is good and more profitable compared to other livestock farming.  Pigs have a quick reproductive cycle with high successful live births; as much as twelve live births each 6 months. Pigs have high feed conversion efficiency, early maturity, short generation interval and relatively small space requirement. It grows fastest; has the highest feed to meat ratio of any livestock.  Pigs are very resilient with very low mortality rate unlike other livestock such as poultry and fish. There is a good market for pig meat both locally and internationally. They provide about 40% of meat in the world market, cooking fats and bristles. Its skin is also useful for light leather production. In addition, pig’s manure is an excellent fertilizer for enriching poor soils and provision of biogas methane for cooking. In fact Business Day Newspaper, February 12, 2019 reported that World Impact Renewable Energy (WIRE), a biogas firm signed a memorandum of understanding with pig farmers at Oke Aro, Lagos to use animal waste from the farm estate to generate between 3mw to 10mw electricity.  The process of using animal dung to generate electricity is a proven technique practiced in developed as well as developing countries all over the world.  With the use of anaerobic digester, biogas is produced which fires biogas power plants.  It is important to note that not even 1kw of power has been generated to the national grid from biomass due to over reliance on crude oil and solar as an alternative, the paper reported.

energy group

But before going into pig farming, there are certain things that need to be taken into consideration in order to make the best out of it.  Appropriate farm location, right target market, housing facilities, material and feedstock availability as well as the production plan and system production.

Pig production is carried out under different systems ranging from extensive, semi intensive and intensive systems. You can choose and use any of the systems depending on your budget. The extensive system also known as the free range system allows the pigs roam and find foods.  The semi intensive allows for good control of feeding and management and the pigs are more protected under this system than the free range system. Intensive system is the total confinement of the pigs.  This system enables them to express their full genetic potential.  This system has a lot of advantages over the extensive and semi intensive systems.

To use the intensive system, quality of housing becomes very important and the means of achieving this have to be considered. So it is better to either buy land, especially in a rural area, where it will be cheaper or get a pen in a pig farm cluster. Whichever one is chosen, sufficient space and ventilation are essential.  The pens should be built at right angles to the direction of the prevailing wind to ensure adequate ventilation. Roofing should ensure maximum shadowing, low and with two gradients, even for a single row building to prevent excessive penetration of sunlight. On space requirements, pens must allow 1m2 per pig between 20 and 50kg, 2m2 between 50 and 100kg and 2.5m2 for dry sows. Therefore a pen with dimension of 4m and 5m may house; 20 piglets, 10 fattening pigs, 8 sows, 1 boar and 1 lactating sow and litter. The floor of the pen should be concrete and properly built. It should slop to one end of each row of the pen in order to facilitate the run of urine and water when the pens are being washed.

It is very important to select proper pig breed/piglet.  Profitability depends largely on the breed chosen.  You can choose both local and hybrid piglets.  For commercial purposes, crossbreeds of exotic and local breeds are very suitable.  These types of crossbreed consume more feed, grow faster and become healthier than other available breeds. Long White Yorkshire, Short White Yorkshire, Land Race, Tomworth, Durac, or Perkshire, is suitable. Long White Yorkshire is very friendly and very easy to handle and this breed takes care of their piglets more than any other breed.  Growth rate is very high; it grows up to 450 kgs at a rate of 300g daily and the conversion rate of the food to meat is very high.  With proper food such as concentration food, green fodder, kitchen and hotel wastage, chicken and meat wastage, these pigs will gain 15 to 18 kilos in a month. Boars may commence breeding at eight (8) months while the sow can be delayed until they are at least 8 months old. In order for this to be successful, mating must take place a little before ovulation as the life is short-2-3 hours. Ovulation takes place 30-40 hours from the beginning of acceptance of the male which represents the heat.

pig yorshore

The choice of production system can better be taken as advised by professional animal scientists.  However, you can choose farrow to Finish Operation, Feeder Pig Operation or Finishing Pig Operation.  Farrow to Finish Operation contains all production phases, from breeding to gestation to farrowing to nursery to grow-finishing to market and it is easier and simple. For Feeder/Nursery Pig Operation production, breeders sell pigs out of the nursery phase to a finishing operation to grow them out to market weight. Grower-Finishing Operation – The operation purchases feeder pigs from a feeder pig operation and feeds them to market weight at 240 to 260. It usually takes between 14 – 16 weeks cycle.

Feed inputs are the most important determinant of the final output to be gotten. Because of this, feeding must receive considerable and constant attention without which the farm and those concerned with it would experience setbacks. Good food helps to prevent various types of diseases. Apart from commercialized concentrates, feedstuff comes in different and cheap varieties.

The capital outlay depends on your budget and the projected farm size. Key fixed assets include building, water tank, feeding troughs, drinking troughs, weighing scale, pig catcher, pincer, wheelbarrow, motor vehicles, furniture and fittings,

Pig production is profitable and economically viable.  You can easily break even and record profit within the first year of production.

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