In my last article I discussed the crucial aspects of nutrition in the current state of our markets of uncertainty. However, with spring planting now taking full effect across the Northern Hemisphere it has prompted further discussion about the reduction of risk for producers of swine and the role nutritionists can play in this regard.

Risk is an integral part of farming and is on the top of every farmer thinking when they make the business decisions that affect their business. The risk we face can stem from various factors like weather, political markets, and other biological systems generally. As we can see that politics has brought about many uncertainties and risk that is over our normal fluctuations in the flow of agricultural.

It is interesting to note that veterinarians do not discuss changes to vaccination or antibiotic programs with nutritionist.

Test plot

It’s not every occasion that a nutritionist gets together with the agronomist as well as the CFO of a company and discuss crop rotations. The wishes list of the nutritionist can be opposite to the list of wishes of the Agronomist. One of the best examples in my work was an experiment plot with customers using a variety of hybrids to find the most suitable corn genetics, both for yield as well as the quality of feed (energy). It was clear that yield won as the top variety for quality of corn. the most yield-efficient, so the economics didn’t matter.

Timing of nutrition strategies

It is also interesting that veterinarians don’t discuss modifications to their vaccine or antibiotic programs with nutritionists. The purpose of a veterinarian is to decrease the chance of developing disease within the body, whether it is by keeping it from happening or by dealing with an outbreak. However, as a nutritionist I’ve always been fascinated by optimizing the levels of immunoglobulin in sows and eventually colostrum and milk. I also believe in fortifying the diet appropriately when in stressful situations to assist the pig cope with any situation even if it’s an unintentional vaccine reaction. The timing of the nutritional strategies is essential to improving the immune system. It requires a coordinated plan that involves all the parties involved such as nutritionists, management and vets.


As a former employee, I collaborated with department that handles purchasing and created models of what to buy and when not purchase certain ingredients. Risk-hedging is the best method used in the present, however the current situation in the world has made producers more vulnerable across the globe, whether due to cost of inputs rising or the lack of inputs in general. Forecasting is crucial for any nutrition program to be properly implemented which is the reason the nutritionist must be present on the table when discussing these issues.

The most important data to take into consideration to forecast the future of ingredients and managing risk are:

  • The numbers of production for the last 5-10 years;
  • Historical weather data on the past;
  • Information on the quality of ingredients over the past 5-10 years from different suppliers;
  • Crop reports and data from the past;
  • Trends and market data for feed additives, particularly amino acids.
  • Shelf time of the ingredients
  • Reserves of cash and financial funds as well as
  • Regional disease monitoring and forecast losses during an outbreak of disease for your business.

You must take charge of the situation.

Of sure we could continue to discuss all the things to take into consideration when reducing the risk, but modern nutrition has moved beyond meeting animal’s nutritional requirements with the least cost possible. Make the most of the situation and begin asking questions and understanding what you can do to be a part of the risk reduction for your own system.