Research project From black box to slaughter hook: Rational feeding of pigs via data sharing

Weaner pigs spilling feed from a feeder

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Sam Millet

Sam Millet

Expert in pig feed and zootechnology


General introduction

Can pig farmers get a better grip on feed costs - and is that cost commensurate with the quality (nutritional composition) of the feed? The main objective is to give pig farmers a tool to evaluate the value of a feed for their farm as objectively as possible. This then makes it possible to assess market conformity, and to choose feed of the right quality, appropriate to the farm objective. In essence, this project frames economic added value, competitiveness in international markets and empowerment through knowledge for the primary producer.

Research approach

The project has ended: A benchmarking tool of feed cost price per pig has been developed. The understanding of the relationship between feed cost feed quality and slaughter quality has been increased through the sharing and use of data. A comparison tool has been developed in which different feed proposals are compared both technically and financially in a standardized way. ILVO contributed mainly in the field of nutritional quality estimation based on the information on the feed label.


By estimating the nutritional composition of supplied feeds based on the info on the feed label, combined with the feed cost price, participating pig farmers were made aware of what the price/quality ratio of their feed was. By then including all the data in a benchmark, the pig farmer has insight into both the quality of his feed and the (fair or less logical) price he paid for his feed. A tool is permanently available to VPOV members.


Europees Landbouwfonds voor Plattelandsontwikkeling