Pigs For A Small Profit?

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by TAXBEATER, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. TAXBEATER

    TAXBEATER Guest

    I Am Considering Pasturing Pigs On 60 Acres.hogs In The 200-250lb. Range Are Going For About .52 Per Lb. At My Local Auction.my Thinking Is That I Could Free Range The Sows And Finish The Piglets To 200-250lbs. And Sell Them At Auction.on Paper,it Looks Like There Could Be Some Profit In This, But In My Numerous Endeavors,i Have Learned That The Paper Is Usually Not Correct.my Land Has No Trees Or Brush But Is Very Lush Pasture.(texas Gulf Coast).
    I Have Also Considered Buying Weeners (25lbs.)at Auction & From Producers To Finish On Pasture And Feed And Resell At Auction.
    Can I Profitably Raise 50-100 Sows Like This?fencing And Shelter Is Already In Place.i Currently Have A Small Goat Herd That I Sell For Breeding Stock But Would Like To Raise Something Not Reliant On The General Public To Market.am I Living In A Dream World Or Can It Be Done?
     
  2. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I live in that dream world myself :) Personally I would expand the goat herd. Living in Texas you do have a market of hispanics readily available for your cabrito. The problem I see with market hogs is that they will eventually deplete that lush pasture and then they will be a financial drain. The grass is rooted up not just mowed down. The people who are currently making a profit- a small one I think- on this forum, have access to free or very cheap produce, breads , and other consumer throw-aways. Or they can buy grain in bulk inexpensively. Now, I have heard that pasturing is the next big health trend for all consumer meats but from my own experience, one should locate a market that will pay the premium before investing in the venture. You are going to take them to auction- not a very good return for your dollar, especially for pastured pigs. These are just my thoughts and not necessarily correct or fitting your personal situation. I raise wild pigs and some cuts taste like steak on the dinner plate. In my area, I have to practically give them away. I'm still looking for that premium market myself. Best wishes though, sincerely. If it were me, I'd go with the goats. In fact, my goat herd is expanding at a snail's pace while my sounder is diminishing.
     

  3. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Is it possible for you to pasture beef cows there with a minimum of winter hay? I am guessing you get ample rainfall there to produce a good crop of grass. If so take your pencil and figure up what about a dozen 600 lb beef calves would make you each year.
     
  4. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    $0.52/lb -- Ouch! I have a standing order of $60 + $0.75 per pound wholesale from a local chain of restaurants for our pastured pigs. Check around.
     
  5. Siryet

    Siryet In Remembrance

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    Sounds good.
    Are you USDA inspected?
    Selling on the hoof or butchered?

    Thanks
     
  6. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    We sell on the hoof live animals. The restaurant and other buyers have the animals butchered, cut, smoked, etc to their liking. The butchers are state and USDA inspected.
     
  7. Paul O

    Paul O Well-Known Member

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    I am planning to raise my pigs organically. I want to do it mostly for myself but I want to sell a few also to subsidize my family pork supply. Organic grain costs about $0.30/ pound, here in Maine. If it takes 3.5 pounds of grain per pound gained, it will cost $262.50 to raise a pig from farrow to 250# live weight, just for grain. If you buy the piglet it would drop the cost of the grain a bit but the piglet would be an additional $60 bringing the cost to $322.50.
    Using highlands’ figures of $60 + $0.75 per pound a 250 pounder would fetch $247.50 for a net loss of $75. 00. Maybe I can make it up in volume. :haha:
    The 3.5# figure is an average figure for raising pigs on all grain. If you save half the grain by pasturing, it would drop the cost $131.25 plus the $60 for the piglet. This would result in a profit of $58.75 per pig. Minus all the other expenses of course. :)
    Maybe “all in-all out” is the way to go. Buy a bred gilt near farrowing time, raise her and her piglets until fall and sell them all off. Anyone know what a bred gilt should go for?

    Paul
     
  8. Susan-DonB

    Susan-DonB Member

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    Yeah but everything in New England gets top $ that is why I moved from MA to NC! What highlands gets in VT needs to be adjusted by 25% for the rest of the country except of course, noveau CA (sp?) :)
     
  9. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    We pasture our pigs. They eat very little grain so that makes a big difference since feed is a very major expense in pig raising. Rather than it being a savings of 1/2 I find it is more like a savings of 4/5ths.

    Also we don't buy organic certified grain. It is too expensive. Buying organic grain and feeding only that would make it a very expensive proposition. The organic certification drives the price up remarkably and our customers don't ask for it. They ask for hormone free, antibiotic free and being raised on pasture which is what we do.

    I figure on a per pig basis about $12 for pasture cost, $10 for facilities and $10 for misc in my calcs. But in reality I own the pasture and did before pigs and would without pigs so that is not a real cost. The pigs save me the time and effort of clearing pasture, fertilize the fields and till our gardens for free. The facilities is more realistic but $10 is a very generous figure - again I have most of the facilities (fencing) for other animals. The $10 misc I put in because I'm sure I must be forgetting something, but so far I haven't figured out what... :) I allot $57.50 per piglet for the average price I would have sold it as a piglet (which we also sell) but again that is not a real cost, just a 'lost' opportunity.

    Winter pigs are about $50 to maybe $75 more expensive than than summer pigs so there is a small seasonal difference.

    The biggest cost in a pig is feed and the biggest way to save is pasturing. If you have pigs that are well adjusted to pasture (good genetics and acclimation) then it really helps. Using grains judiciously at the right stages of growth and reproduction is key. In the winter our pigs eat hay as part of their diet, the winter substitute for pasture.

    I've seen them selling in the classifieds on very rare occasions for $350 to $550. Getting a bred gilt is more of a risk than a proven sow because she is unproven at breeding, birthing, nursing and mothering but she should cost a lot less. I've read statistics that only 2 in 3 gilts 'take' and the other is sterile. We do a bit better than that but not all carry through the whole pregancy.

    Given that a good sow on pasture gives me about 10 piglets with ease every six months and is good for years I wouldn't want to sell her for less than $900. If you can get a a _good_ young sow (a proven mother, not a gilt) for less than that you're getting a steal. Find out what her previous litter sizes were (weaned - NOT birthed), how old she is, has she had difficulties, what her mother and sisters were like, what her temperment is like, etc.

    One possible deal is a sow that starts to decline in litter size which may still be fine for you for several more years whereas she might not be economically justifiable to a pig farmer to keep her in a breeding slot.

    What ever you do, get a gilt or sow that is already on pasture and that has been in your climate for generations if you can. It will save you a lot of money and effort. If they were not already pastured and you want them on pasture then plan on a gradual transition to pasture over about a month. Note that very young pigs don't digest grass, or hay, as well as older pigs. This is one reason we let ours nurse longer than is common.

    Cheers,

    -Walter
    Sugar Mtn Farm
    in Vermont
     
  10. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Fortunately things in Vermont are generally a lot less expensive than in Massachusetts. Especially the important things like land, housing, taxes and food.
     
  11. Susan-DonB

    Susan-DonB Member

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    This is true, they dont call it TAXachusetts for nothin!
     
  12. Paul O

    Paul O Well-Known Member

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    Grain cost isn’t the whole of it either. Other cost issues required to be organic are:
    1.) Any hay used has to be organic as well
    2.) Bakery wastes can’t be used unless they are organic.
    3.) Ditto for restaurant scraps
    4.) Worming is restricted but not prohibited
    5.) Piglets can’t be raised as organic unless they were fed only mother’s milk and/or organic grains etc. before you get them.

    As you can imagine, going organic is expensive.

    Paul O