Cost-Benefit Analysis of Pastured Pig Weight Gains With and Without Added Protein Supplements

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2018: $14,852.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2019
Grant Recipient: The Piggery Inc.
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Angela DeVivo
The Piggery Inc.


  • Agronomic: clovers, grass (misc. annual), grass (misc. perennial)
  • Animals: swine
  • Animal Products: meat


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, feed additives, grazing management, grazing - multispecies, grazing - rotational, rangeland/pasture management
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity

    Proposal summary:

    The purpose of our grant proposal is to study the gains and feed costs of hogs eating a full feed of small grains on protein-rich pasture with and without an added protein supplement and lysine additive. Starting July 1st, three groups of 10 pigs will be given (1) a full hog feed, (2) cracked wheat and mineral, and (3) cracked wheat, mineral and a lysine supplement, respectively. They will be put on white clover & brassica pasture- both high protein, low fiber fodder. The study will last 45 days in total, ending on August 14th. A cost benefit analysis of the three group's weight gains and feed costs will be released upon the completion of the study period, according to the SARE requirements on findings. We will conduct an on-farm demonstration and tour of our ongoing study between the dates of July 8th and August 1st, spreading the word via flyering and e-mails to regional farming listserves. We will also apply to speak about our finding at the winter NOFA conference for our region.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The purpose of our proposed study is to determine if hogs on protein-rich pasture without a protein additive (such as soy or field peas) in their feed have decent gains compared to a control group on the same pasture with a full hog feed. Gains are likely to be somewhat slower, but the cost/benefit analysis of gains vs. feed costs may indicate that good pasture without the use of added feed protein is the most efficient option. Pastured pig operations could save a significant amount of money on outside protein sources during pasturing season, making their operations more financially sustainable in a market that only allows for very thin profit margins.

    Well-managed pasture will reduce the amount of bought-in monocultural protein sources as well as conserve local farmlands and increase soil fertility.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.