24 January 2013

Namibia: New Factory Improves Production of Animal Fodder

Windhoek — Feedmaster now boasts more capacity with the opening during October 2012 of their new state-of-the-art factory.

According to the Technical Nutritionist of Feedmaster, Christo du Plessis, they can now produce up to 20 tonnes of fodder per hour in the new factory.

"We now have the ability to manufacture more feed as well as better quality feed for poultry and pigs. We struggled for a while with capacity, but with the start-up of Namib Poultry Industries we had more reason to build the new feed mill," Du Plessis said during a recent interview.

In addition, orders for pig fodder have also increased with about 10 percent, which is due to increasing interest in pig farming, he said. Interest in pig rearing has grown after the introduction of a trial Pig Protection Scheme, intended to promote and to protect local pig producers.

Through the scheme, the Meat Board worked out a formula for pork product prices on a monthly basis. That is done by taking the South African pork prices and adding the difference of local fodder and transport costs to come up with the monthly price.

The scheme further stipulates that processors or abattoirs first source 1kg of pork locally, before they can get a permit to import 3kg from South Africa, Brazil or elsewhere. This prompted processors to source more local products when compared to previous years, which in turn boosted the local market.

However, compared to other animals, pigs need more specific feeding requirements, which include amino acids and vitamins. The majority of raw materials for pig fodder are imported and therefore more expensive than other fodder supplements used for cattle or sheep.

Du Plessis says fodder for monogastric animals such as pigs and chickens consists of 70 percent maize, 20 percent oil cake, including soybean meal and fishmeal, as well as 10 percent minerals, salts and vitamins. Other types of animal fodder consist of raw materials such as wheat bran in lick supplements and lucerne in roughage-based pellets.

A lot of pig farmers, however have the habit of cutting on the cost component, but do not take into account the fact that pigs grow slower if deprived of these necessities. Du Plessis said for pigs, fodder should always be available to ensure optimum growth and production. Similarly, clean drinking water should always be available as it has a direct impact on feed intake.

Very important is the availability of creep meal, which should be available as of one week to five/six weeks after birth. Piglets are weaned at five to six weeks when they weigh between 10kg to 12kg and not less than 9.5kg, hence this specific feed is needed for the young ones.

"High digestible creep meal during the weaning process helps with a higher nutritional intake and an increased weight," Du Plessis said. Feeding young pigs creep meal also shortens the growing period, as the pig reaches the target weight earlier for marketing purposes."

Another important feed is the grower meal, which consists of protein, phosphorus, calcium, fiber, moisture and amino acids. Feed such as the finisher meal gives a faster fat accretion to bacon and a lower meat production.

However, a cheaper feed known, as Econo Grower Meal is available, which is recommended to be available from the weaning stage until the slaughter stage. The Econo Grower Meal provides needed energy, proteins, vitamins and minerals to both young and adult pigs.

Namibia's pig producers are aiming at having 60 percent locally produced pork on the Namibian market soon. Only about 23 to 25 percent pork products are locally sourced at the present, while the rest is imported, mostly from South Africa. These figures could change if the reported growth is quantified.

There are about 600 pig producers in the country, while more than 500 of them are very small farmers, some even having only three to ten pigs. Pig producers can be found all over the country, but mostly in areas where there are plantations such as maize from where pigs can be fed. No pigs or pork products are exported and are for local consumption only.

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