How Much Does It Cost To Raise Pigs in South Africa?
There are a lot of reasons why we raise pigs, most of us rear pigs for commercial use. We tracked the cost we used in raising our pigs for a year and realized that it varies from the age of your pigs and the seasons. Below is an elaboration on the costs of raising one pig.
In case you want to raise pigs during summer (December to February) feeder pigs are the most cost effective to purchase during spring (September to November). You will increase the pigs during the summer months and harvest them during fall (March to May). Raising sows to provide you with piglets can be expensive as we will elaborate shortly.
Each year there is a shortage of feeder pigs in our country, making it hard to find feeder pigs in September or November. We, therefore, waited for their demand to go down and purchased six piglets in July.
We decided that we would raise four for pork harvest while the other two would be used as gilts to give us piglets in the coming summer. We hoped to get several piglets that we would sell next year that would help in covering costs of overwintering (not breeding the sows) the gilts.
We have realized that raising pigs during the cold seasons is less cost-efficient. This is attributed to the increased cost of feeding to keep the pigs warm and lack of enough garden waste that can be used as supplements for their feeds. The pig conservation of pastures drops since they are getting older and are maturing.
Pasture For Pigs
Pigs that feed on field at two months they always have eaten all grass and have turned the soil in a significantly large area in a few weeks. In most cases, we purchase our pigs at eight weeks. We then raise them for four to six months, depending on size preference. In case you want to harvest the pig for feeding at home, a smaller pig is easier. The cuts are manageable for my little family.
Commercially most pigs are usually harvested at five months old with a hanging weight of 70kg. It is tricky to determine the hanging weight of a pig, but you can use string measurement and calculate the live weight to hanging weight. I will give you the detailed measurements and conversions in the article.
Summer Cost of Raising a Pig
We purchased six pigs at 100$ each amounting to 600$
Our pigs consumed 2.25 kg of commercial feed each pig in a day. We also gave them ample kitchen and garden slop from December to March. We bought each kg for 25 cents though some may consider high. But the price can be low based on how near you are to commercial pig feed outlets or manufacturers.
We fed our pigs for three months and harvested them at four months. Each had consumed feeds of around 115$ each. We did slaughter and process our pigs at home; therefore, we did not incur those costs. Nevertheless, the cost of slaughtering is 60# and butchering is 100$.
Costs of raising a pig during summer
Purchasing price -100$
Feed costs -115$
Total costs -375$
The hanging weight is 70kg at 2.50$ per 500grams hanging weight.
Local farms will cost 4$ per kg hanging weight and will give you slaughtering and butchering costs as additional fees. The same pig, when purchased from your local farm, will amount to 600$. Assuming that your labour is free, you will be saving 225$ per pig.
Raising a Pig during Cold Months (winter)
The hanging weight of our 11 months an old pig was 113 kg each. Each consumed 4.5 kg of feed daily during the cold months. Remember that pigs eat more as they mature and during cold weather to maintain their body temperatures. This causes a drop in their food conversion rates in their bodies.
A seven months old pig in the cold season consumes twice as much pasture as it would I the hot seasons.
Cost of Raising a Pig during Cold Seasons
Purchase Price - 100$
Winter feeds values -450$
Summer feed costs -150$
The cost will range from 250$ to 3.30$ per pig. The increase may not seem significant, but when you add labour for six extra months, the costs will be high. Giving each pig 50 gallons of water daily and 9kg of feed per pig daily is exhausting.
Each pig will require half an hour of labour each day and five hours to prices their food. For the four summer pigs, we spent 80 hours to get 370kg of meat. For the two gilts, it costs 120 hours for 272kg of meat. In winter hulling water to the pugs during winter was much tedious and energy-consuming than in summer.