The Cost of Raising Pigs

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

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100 thoughts on “The Cost of Raising Pigs

  1. Thank you so much for your video. I love that you and your wife did not come from a ranching background. We hope to start our farm in the next couple years (hopefully less) and while my husband has some experience in farming I do not but it's a dream I'm willing to commit to!

  2. My father always told us our time was free, it is what u do with them time is what is the pay in the end. We work our lives to build some equity for our retirement and a few vacations along the way

  3. Which is why we never make a penny at it but still do it. It's the gods honest truth, you can't count in your own time.

  4. Nice presentation on the costs. Does not look to promising except you are right on with the benefits of living on the farm. It looks like doing the whole pig thing would pay better with 60 piglets to sell from 6 sows but then there is the land cost if you were to free range them. Always the catch 22 I suppose. It really gets back the land costs where the farmer would have to have some marginal ground for pig pastures and some fair ground to raise a commercial amount of corn and beans from which he would divert enough for pig feed.

  5. Mike, you and your wife are hard working folks and that is what it takes to make it in the ranch life and you will make it if you keep working hard as you do. I was raised as a farmer, actually a custom alfalfa harvester, I know the work required to make a go of it. I wish you well my friend.

  6. "U KNOW MIKE!.."here's why I know U & your family R going 2 make it!.."U R on "TOP & all over them "NUMBER!.."&! as long as you keep your numbers in focus and on top of them!.. "U won't lose!

  7. Hey mike, really enjoy watching your videos. I wanna get into raising pork here on my farm i watch this video 100 of times and i did some math work and i wanna raise pork for my local farmers market people. Wanna know if you are willing to supply me with your pig contact so i can buy some pigs. Ive looked around and didnt like any of the ones ive seen. Thanks

  8. This is such a wonderful video. Presentation, verbiage, imagen, in short, you covered everything flawlessly and with such a mastery, I'm pretty sure your animals appreciate the time being in your homestead. Wish the best to you, and your beautiful family.

  9. Wow, those are some tight margins! I think what you, and all of us, are really buying with our money is a way of life. After you pay for a place to sleep and food to eat the only question that really matters is, “are you happy?”

  10. As a typical consumer I feel ripped off by the price of pork.
    After watching this video I no longer feel that anymore. Mostly I feel confused.
    Does it suck being in the tastiest meat business with such limited profit?

    … wishing I had a few chickens and maybe a single pig to slaughter once a year…

  11. Thanks for the update long time ago I realized the cost of farming, ranching vs profit vs time. Only special people can take on that commitment. Proud to have stumbled on Your postings

  12. As a trucker I drive through Wyoming weekly. It one of the most beautiful states. I can understand how that land could be so important to your family.

  13. Hi mike now i am a kid and i Malik cows and Do pigs well they are 1000 well there is no sell Barn nere us

  14. Can't you grow corn on the side as an extra food source for the pigs?
    Seems to me this would save you some money.
    Maybe WY is too cold for corn, but wheat could be an alternative.

  15. out of all the farming channels i have watched this is the best no one else explained the financial aspect of what you do they just show the videos great channel

  16. You nailed it we get attached to all our hogs. We figured on average each hog takes about 700 to 800 lbs of Feed to yo from wean to market weight (285 live)

  17. My opinion : you time is DEFINITELY worth something . Only when you calculate with cost of time , only then you can analyze cost-benefit and do only the most profitable thing .

  18. It's amazing you didn't grow up on a farm. You sure got the walk pardner! All my respect to all farmers. Thanks for sharing your story!

  19. I'm curious about purchasing the 35lb packages. would it be possible to purchase and have it shipped or delivered to, lets say to Oklahoma?

  20. My father told me about a butcher that used to feed his pigs the guts, blood and anything he didn't sell to his customer from the animals he butchered. them he will butcher them and sell them. All profit

  21. I am so glad your video showed up on my recommended. Great job and a great breakdown. I didn’t grow up on a farm, always wanted to though, but I did grow up in a farming town. Me and my dad would always go to farmers markets, local dairy farms and local slaughter houses to buy all of our food. Had little use for grocery stores, he used to have a saying, “If you can shake the hand that feeds you, you are eating right”, which is the gospel truth. My dad was a chef, and we never had a bad meal, something I still carry with me to this day. I hear people locally complain about the price of fresh local food, and while my answer is rather long, the short of it is, if you think that’s expensive, try paying for the “diseases” you get from eating the garbage out of the grocery store. Thanks Mike, and GOD bless!

  22. Mike , your background in radio has been a big plus for you . You narration is very warm and keeps me tuned in . your willingness to share the numbers is also excellent information in general whether one farms or not . You were really cut out for this and have created a life with family that shows very transparently the love you all have for what you all do . Very informative , very entertaining to view and quite interesting to be given an insight into the math/numbers/costs. I understand with your videos that besides all the work and risk , the love of the land and the freedom it provides is central to what makes it all work . Your love for your family what you do and the long range possibilities held in your heart for the next generation are so very inspiring. You ,your wife and the life you both have created for your family is really so close to the land ,to family and to the marvel of life . .For someone who knew nothing about ranching you are one adaptive , creative ,industrious and highly capable Wyoming rancher. Very well done!

  23. People like you are salt of the earth. You provide society with one of the most basic necessities for life, food. I hope your long days and hard work serves as a sense of accomplishment for you and your family because it is a noble profession.

  24. Some people raise their kids like you raise hogs for slaughter

    No mention of politicians

  25. Grate Video I wish that this type video Info was around 60 years ago. At 73 I am feeding out 4 pigs in an 1/2 acr. pin and a good old barn. I feed out a Blank Angus Cafe and brought home 630Lbs of the best beef I have ever eaten. I have no idea how much it cost and I am not in it to make money. But it would have been more fun ranching than doing what I heated. I have some Chickens, Fish pond, Ducks and Geese. I suck at gardening, to muck damn work. All Vegetables and fruits are not good for human food anyway. I talk to much.

  26. a really big mistake he is doing is that he is not raising enough pigs. to put simply, u don't use your washer and drying to wash one shirt or 7 shirts, u want to do full loads. he is not doing a full load to maximize his time and effort.

  27. That's why I hate my chickens. I still say a little prayer and don't let the others see what I'm doing. But I always pick the meanest in the bunch. And there is always a meanest in the bunch.

  28. I used to show pigs for FFA. The most they would auction for $8.00 per pound. The most expensive cuts were the ears, bacon, ham, and the feet.

  29. You will need to expand the ranch by 100% for each child you have if you wish for your children to enjoy the same quality of life as you have had. A ranch that can pay the bills of one family cannot pay the bills of four families.

  30. Raising pigs is a dirty business.pigs are dirty animals.raise goats or sheep will make far more money.

  31. I have a small farm. I raise Chickens, Ducks, Geese. My production for income is Fertilized Rggs, Chicks, Ducklings, & Goslings. I also have all of my birds as meat. It has taken me several years to develop a system that can provide a modest profit. At times it is very hard work but also enjoyable working with my livestock. I am adding pigs and a small cattle breed next year. The up side is that I can produce all of my own food. I never intended to make a profit which actually providrs funds for feed and equipment maintenance. Oh and I almost forgot, this farm was started from scratch in 2012 after retiring from a "day job" at a Craft Brewery.

  32. So if you can find the market to sell 70 pigs instead of the sevenat your current prices that would basically pay for the shortage in Haybut do you have a big enough market to sell 10 times what you do now

  33. Finally… a farmer who comes across with some real numbers… The rest of them on Youtube hint that they don't make much money but none give real numbers. Until you. Thank you.

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