The Cost of Raising Pigs

The Cost of Raising Pigs

August 22, 2019 100 By Luis Garrison


Hi I’m Mike, here on the ranch cows are
our main source of income, but we couldn’t do this without diversifying. We also raise our own steers and pigs for
direct sale to customers at farmers market. These are the honest facts of raising pigs
for profit, on our Wyoming life. Welcome to our Wyoming life, if you are a
regular viewer thanks for joining us again and if this is your first time here please
subscribe and come along with us as we explore the ranch life and escape the ordinary. The question was raised to me recently if
raising your own animals and sending them to slaughter gets any easier as the years
go by. The quick answer to that question is no, but
the real answer is a bit more complicated. Neither Erin or I were raised on the ranch
or on any ranch for that matter. We came here a few years ago when Erin’s
step dad started getting sick and he has since passed away. We came here from a life in corporate America,
about as far from agriculture as you could get. When we came we had no idea what we were getting
into, sometimes we still don’t but we have since settled into our new life. We have started a family, we’ve had 3 kids,
Mackenzie who is 7, Grace who is 4 and Lincoln who is 2. And we have changed how things are done around
here, when we came it was strictly a cow and calf operation. Since then, Erin has added gardens and actively
sells vegetables raised here on the ranch year-round, we also raise and finish our own
beef that we sell and pigs as well. By the end of this video you will know more
about how we raise our pigs, how much they cost us to raise and how much profit there
can be in pork. So today we get to talk about pigs and there
are three sides to this equation, production yield and sales. Back in July of last year we brought a new
batch of pigs onto the ranch. Each and every year we get our pigs from the
same place. A young lady that grows her pigs in Nebraska. We have purchased our pigs from her for years
because we want to stay consistent with our customers, changing breeders each year could
change the flavor of the pork and we want our customers to be confident in knowing they
are going to get what they expect. This year we purchased 7 pigs, one of them
we had presold before we even got them and the others will be sold to our local customers. We pay 50$ per pig and so starts their time
on the ranch. The piglets now weigh about 10 lbs each and
will live here in the pig shed for a majority of their lives. We have two stalls available to them, and
they will be able to move from stall to stall when then get bigger, allowing us to lock
them in one side of the pens while we clean the other. Which happens often, pigs need to be cleaned
frequently their stalls mucked out and bedding replaced. These pigs will live on the ranch for an average
of 200 days, gaining weight at about a pound and a half per day. By the end of the 200 days we are hoping for
pigs that weight between 270 and 310 pounds. Just like people different pigs have different
metabolism and some will gain weight faster and some will be slower. To help them gain that weight we need to feed
them, obviously, and we do so by buying pig food by the ton. Each bag of food weighs 50 lbs and a ton has
42 bags on it. A pig will eat about 4% of its body weight
in food per day, these little guys will eat less and a half a pound per day but that will
quickly change. As they grow they eat more and over their
entire time here on the ranch each pig will consume about 800 lbs of pig food, for all
seven of them totaling 5600 lbs of food or about 3 tons. More than the weight of an average car. We buy our pig food at a cost of $13.70 per
bag or rate of 28 cents per pound. Over its lifetime each pig will eat 225$ worth
of feed. All together we have 1575$ in feed in the
entire group. Pigs drink water too, however I have never
figured out how much it costs pump water for them at the rate of 3-5 gallons per day per
pig. Another cost that I haven’t figured as well
is my time that I have into the pigs. Each day we spend at least an hour dealing
with them, somedays more, somedays less. From feeding, watering and cleaning stalls,
even entire days, rebuilding stalls or chutes. Over all this time spent with our animals
you do get attached to them, you learn their quirks, you get to know their personalities,
which makes the day that they leave the ranch that much harder. This year we are taking our pigs to Sturgis
Meats. A USDA inspected meat processesing and packaging
facility. Here we can get our pork packaged for sale
to our customers. We offer our pork to customers at farmers
markets and by direct sales. Being usda inspected means that we can sell
our pork by the single piece, one pound of bacon, or a single pork chop. Just like the grocery store. With the pigs dropped off, we can go back
to that question from the beginning, if raising your own animals and sending them to slaughter
gets any easier as the years go by? This is our 3rd year raising pigs, and the
day anyone animal leaves the ranch is hard for me. You see the hard work that you have completed
take another set toward completion and as hard as it is, I know that as we move forward
from here, I am providing for my family, the ranch and our future here. 2 weeks later we are ready to pick up our
pork, Before leaving we do a bit of housekeeping, cleaning out freezers and making sure we have
room for the many pounds of new meat we have coming in. The timing works out right, because we are
on our way back over to Sturgis with a load of steers that we will be processing into
beef for sale as well. But first we must have our brand inspection,
where a state representative comes out to the ranch and inspects the cattle we are taking. After checking the brands and proof of ownership,
we can head out with them, driving the hundred or so miles to drop these guys off and pick
up our pork. Loading it all in the back of the truck, then
high tailing it back home before things start to thaw. Once back home, we disconnect the trailer
and over to the shop we go to start unloading pork. On average a pig will yield about 57% their
live weight in pork. A 250 lb pig will bring you 144lbs in retail
cuts. All together we brought over 2150 pound of
live pig, we are taking home 1225 lbs. We don’t get too crazy with our cuts and
for those interested here are the numbers. 350 Pork Chops
70 Pork Shoulder Roasts 126 pounds of Sausage
250 pounds of bacon And 300 pounds of ham
We also set aside a half of an entire pig for our farm to table dinner in late summer. Our cost for processing our pork including
butchering, processing, inspections, vacuum packaging and curing averages 400$ per pig
for a total of 2800$ Our total cost for 7 pigs this year was 4725$. Now comes the third part of the equation:
Sales We sell our pork at farmers markets and direct
to our customers. When it comes to pricing our meat we do it
in two ways. One is by the individual cut and the other
is in 35 pound packages. In a 35 pound package you get 8 pounds of
pork chops, 6 pounds of sausage, 5 pounds of bacon, 8 pounds of roasts and 8 pounds
of ham for $199. That is an average of 5.69 per pound. If we sold all of our meat at that rate, lets
say we only sold packages then we would have an income of $6970.25. With a cost of $4725 giving a profit of 2245.25
for six months of work. You might think we could actually make money
on pork is with individual sales, people that buy 1 or 2 pork chops, a pound of bacon or
sausage. We price our individual cuts comparable with
the grocery store, our customers know that they can buy pork in the grocery store for
close to the same price but what they don’t know is how that pork is raised, what hormones
or antibiotics might have been used or the condition that they lived in. Lets take a look at those numbers. Bacon we sell for 9.50 per pound we have 250
pounds to sell, that’s $2375 Shoulder roast is 4.99 per pound, with roughly
210 lbs we have $1048 Ham is 5.99 per pound and 300lbs give us $1797
Sausage at 6.50 per pound is $1365 And pork chops at 5.99 per pound brings about
$2096 And if we sold all of our pork individually,
that gives us a grand total of $8681 Take off our cost of $4725 again and the profit
is now $3956 $3956 profit with individual cuts and $2245
with packages. Our actual profit is somewhere in the middle. It may not seem like a lot, and we are really
only talking 7 pigs here but for us it can make a big difference. That money can be used to help further advancements
in the garden, or it might help buy Mackenzie’s braces. Its another one of those things on the ranch,
that if we don’t figure in our time and our labor we actually do pretty well. When we first came to the ranch, one of the
first things Gilbert taught me is that your time isn’t worth anything. How right he was. So the original question once again… Does raising your own animals and sending
them to slaughter gets any easier as the years go by? The answer doesn’t change I guess, its still
no. These animals are a part of the ranch and
every year we see many of them go away, but their sacrifice is never in vain. By raising animals to see we are ensuring
that the ranch continues every year, and hopefully long enough to see our kids raise their kids
on this very same land. Maybe they will be doing the same things we
do today, maybe they won’t. The whole place could be a wind farm by then
and you know what, that’s totally fine. If it keeps the ranch going we will do it,
this land is one of the most important things in all of our lives. And every day we make sacrifices ourselves
to make sure that its still going to be a part of our lives tomorrow, including making
choices that are very hard and sometimes heartbreaking. I hope you have enjoyed this little economics
lesson, mixed with the why and the how. When we started our channel, we decided we
wanted to not only bring you what we do, but also why we do it and the emotion involved
in every step. Make sure you subscribe for more from the
ranch as we explore the ranch life together and escape the ordinary. Like us on Facebook for updates you cant find
anywhere else @ ourwyominglife We post 3 times per week and hope you again
soon Until then, thanks for joining us in our Wyoming
life.