When times are tough, follow the right course: go for high return, not low cost!


The pig farming industry is going through a turbulent period. Raw material prices are on the rise, liquidity shortages are looming, and demand is lagging. Farmers trying to maximise their return are increasingly cutting down on procurement costs. Pre-starters are giving way to cheaper weaning feeds, and while the goal is to reduce antibiotics and zinc as much as possible, in practice that is easier said than done. Is cutting the cost of piglet feeds the right strategy? Or does changing your feeding strategy yield better results? Trouw Nutrition has looked into the matter and has come up with new calculations.


4 key figures

To gain insight into the impact of piglet feed (pre-starters versus weaning feed) on the farm's bottom line, technical piglet performance was measured at several Belgian and Dutch pig farms. During the trial, one group was fed with Milkiwean Spido, and the other group received a cheap weaning feed.

The results were analysed against the following 4 key figures:

  1. Growth
  2. Piglet uniformity
  3. Mortality
  4. Job satisfaction

Growth results:

Milkiwean Spido can deliver up to 100 grams of extra growth per day when rearing piglets

On average, Milkiwean Spido is EUR 500 per ton more expensive than the weaning feed used. Real life trials show that this extra investment pays off from as little as 50 grams of extra growth per piglet per day. The groups using Milkiwean Spido sometimes even achieved more than 100 grams of extra growth per day, compared to the weaning feed.

Piglet uniformity results:

Milkiwean Spido reduces the number of pigs taken to slaughter by 7%

Gastrointestinal health is a strong indicator of the uniformity of piglets delivered. In this regard, the more uniform the litter, the fewer piglets are sent to slaughter and the better the piglet quality. The economic loss of slaughtering piglets is high: each piglet that is sent to slaughter will cost the customer about EUR 30 overall. In other words: If 5% of piglets cannot be sold, the average sale price/piglet goes down by EUR 1.50. Figures show that the higher price of buying a pre-starter can already be recovered when the number of piglets sent to slaughter is reduced by at least 2%. In the groups that received Milkiwean Spido, the number of piglets sent to slaughter was reduced by an average of 3%!

Mortality results:

Milkiwean Spido reduces animal mortality after weaning by as much as 4.7%

How much mortality in the farrowing house is acceptable? This is a relevant question, especially as piglet feeds become more expensive. After all, as feed prices rise, so does the cost per individual piglet. So, all piglet deaths should be avoided. Milkiwean Spido is more beneficial than weaning feed when mortality can be reduced by at least 0.8%. In fact, the farms that used Milkiwean Spido achieved 1.5% to 4.7% lower mortality than the groups that used weaning feed.

Job satisfaction results:

Milkiwean Spido is easy to work with, also because it reduces the need for antibiotics and zinc

Job satisfaction is becoming increasingly important. The trials showed that the groups receiving Milkiwean Spido had less diarrhoea. Hardly any antibiotics and zinc had to be used. Greater uniformity was achieved, and the improved technical performance was visually clear.


When times are tough, follow the right course. More than ever, it is important to proactively advise pig farmers on the most profitable feeding strategy. A thoroughly calculated cost-benefit analysis shows that using a pre-starter such as Milkiwean Spido may be more expensive if calculated per kilogram, but ultimately provides much greater economic return than a weaning feed, allowing you to earn up to EUR 40.00 extra per sow per year.

Key number

Using Milkiwean Spido is break even from:

Actual result achieved with Milkiwean Spido:


+ 50 g/d

+ 100 g/d

Piglet uniformity

- 2% piglets for slaughter

- 7% piglets for slaughter


- 0.8% piglet mortality

- 4.7% piglet mortality