By Matt Reese
Hogs have long been recognized for their noteworthy eating habits.
On Ohio hog farms today, the vast majority of those eat-like-a-pig diets is comprised of crops produced locally, in some cases grown on the same farm. This largely-homegrown feed source is a vital part of the production of high quality, consistent pork products in Ohio.
Fifth generation farmer Nick Seger raises crops and livestock with his family on their Shelby County farm near Sidney. They raise corn, soybeans, and wheat and they grind their own feed for the family’s farrow-to-finish hog operation.
“We put up a new grinding facility a few years ago and we work with ADM Nutrition Alliance on formulating the proper protein and nutritional levels for each individual phase of pigs, or age of pigs, in our operation. When the pigs are smaller, they have a more nutrient-dense ration with higher protein levels. As they get older, their feed consumption goes up considerably, so their protein level in the feed goes down. As they grow, we match their body weight with the proper nutrition,” Seger said. “We grow soybeans here on the farm and sell them to a local processor. They are made into soybean meal and oil and several products. Then we buy the soybean meal back and use it on our home operation to make our feed ration. Predominantly our rations include that soybean meal, corn we have grown on the farm, and dried distillers grains. We get the dried distillers grains from local ethanol plants. We tailor the ration to our individual operation and make the proper formulations for our hogs.”
Then, of course, the hogs eat like, well, hogs, and produce a nutrient-rich waste product.
“We are full circle with the hogs. We use the manure as a nutrient for growing our corn and beans — it is a nice sustainability cycle,” Seger said. “We collect soil test information and know where our soil phosphorus and potassium levels are in the fields. Then we apply the manure to prevent run-off and put it where the soil needs it to grow the best crop we can. Then we use that crop to feed the hogs.”
The properly placed nutrients from the manure support healthy soils, to produce nutritious crops, which are ground into rations for use on the farm to feed the hogs. The Segers’ properly-fed hogs produce consistent, high-quality pork products for the end consumer.
“Hog health and well-being stems back to what they eat,” Seger said. “We take a lot of pride in growing quality corn and soybeans to produce quality feed for our hogs. We are only feeding the very best diets to our livestock because we want to raise the best possible animal for our consumers.”
Ohio’s hog farmers had sales of over $1.01 billion in 2021, ranking Ohio ninth nationally in total hog sales. Ohio’s hogs eat the equivalent of 7,952,400 bushels of Ohio soybeans annually.
Livestock is the most important market for soybean producers. The Ohio Soybean Council is highlighting Ohio’s livestock industry in 2022 to showcase this vital partnership facilitating global food production.