Although hog prices are declining, Paylean still offers a positive payback to pork producers, according to Ron Plain, University of Missouri agricultural economist.

Paylean’s impact is in faster weight gains and heavier carcasses, while reducing sort loss, he says. Even with the current low hog prices, Plain projects there is still about a $1.25/head advantage to feeding Paylean.

Mike Lewis, a pork producer from Greenfield, IN, runs a 1,000-sow, farrow-to-finish operation with his father and two brothers. They have used Paylean since last January, opting to feed 4.5 g/ton. He sees a $2/head advantage on the kill sheets and an additional $4/head advantage in feed efficiency from feeding Paylean.

The Creighton Brothers at Rochester, IN, operate a 1,200-sow, farrow-to-finish operation. Farm manager Mark Vanlandingham says they’ve used Paylean for two years and it still provides up to a $3/head advantage.

"We first used Paylean at the 9-gram level but we’ve found 4.5 grams per ton to work better for us," he says. Switching to 4.5 g/ton for the last three to four weeks prior to slaughter has resulted in less sorting and easier handling of market hogs.

Joe Connor, a swine practitioner in Carthage, IL, asserts that management can go a long way to reducing slows and downers. He advises producers to follow Trucker Quality Assurance guidelines, move small groups, minimize use of electric shockers, and reduce changes in lighting and flooring at the exit door to the loading chute.

More Pounds of Pork

Vanlandingham says despite a higher expense of including Paylean and increased lysine in the ration, feed cost per pound of pork produced remains about the same. He sees the value in Paylean because it provides a leaner and higher-yielding carcass, with more pork produced per head.

Based on feed efficiency trials done at the farm, Lewis says Paylean has boosted feed efficiency by 10% and added 10% more pounds of pork out the door than last year. So far, they have run 1,000 more head through their finishing facilities than they did for the same period a year ago without Paylean, he notes. Plans are to conduct some trials with the product at the 9-gram level.

Paylean gives a "kick start to protein accretion rates, providing extra muscle deposition and reducing fat accretion," points out Kansas State University swine nutritionist Mike Tokach.

Vanlandingham reports percent lean for barrows went from low 54% before Paylean to nearly 55% with Paylean. Lewis cites 54.9% lean yield before Paylean and 55.6% lean with Paylean in the diet.

Connor says most of his clients use Paylean at the 4.5 g/ton level. He encourages those who use a step-up program (feeding 4.5 g/ton and then 9 g/ton) to keep protein levels in feed consistent with recommendations to take full advantage of Paylean’s ability to increase muscle.

Tokach also supports use of a step-up program – two weeks at 4.5 g/ton and two weeks at 9 g/ton.

"Of all the technologies implemented the last 10 years, Paylean has been the easiest with immediate and good payback," says Vanlandingham.