QuickPig is a cost and production analysis software package that provides a detailed breakdown of costs in different swine production phases. The product is available from Producers Livestock Association of Columbus, OH. QuickPig will show how changes or improvements in areas such as nutrition, genetics, buildings or interest rates, for example, could impact an operation's cost per cwt. and net bottom line.

According to Doug Schilling, program developer, QuickPig is a Windows-based program (including Windows 95). The program requires a 486 processor or higher, and at least 5 MB of available hard disk space.

The basic version of the program allows the producer to input and analyze information on females, boars, facility utilization, wean-to-finish, feed, marketing, general expenses, labor and contracting, capital and loans. This version provides limited financial analysis.

The QuickPig Pro version provides the same input areas as the basic version with a more in-depth feed and ingredients section as well as a veterinary medicine section and detailed financial analysis.

A pull-down menu helps users choose computer program options, or "quick keys" can be pressed as a shortcut way to use options.

The program is defined and organized into areas of production. The program's creators say the objective is cost and record analysis, not recordkeeping. The program can handle either metric or English measurement units.

Lee Johnston asked how technical support would be provided to users. Schilling said a toll-free help line was available through Producers Livestock Association.

The basic version of QuickPig costs $495. The Pro version costs $995.

Craig Christensen asked how producers would be able to obtain future updates to the program. Schilling said that producers would have to buy another program.

Richard Collins asked if expenses could be figured with the program for pigs in any part of the system. He asked if the program could calculate the changes in production if a producer would wean .5 more pigs. Johnston wondered if the program could adjust for preweaning mortality if litter sizes changed from 10 pigs to 11 pigs/litter, for example. Schilling says the program is totally interactive, so changes in any area will be accounted for throughout the production cycle all the way to the financial output.

Both Collins and Christensen wondered if the program would be user-friendly for contract producers. Schilling says, yes, in-depth analysis can be run with the program investigating labor and contracting costs.

Summing up his thoughts about the program, Christensen says, "This program would be handy for me if I'm trying to put together a 'what if' scenario to see what would happen if I change a part of my operation. QuickPig would be a lot easier to use than if I had to set up the spreadsheets covering all the areas affected by each change. It would be nice to have a program that automatically adjusts all the parameters involved."

Johnston says QuickPig users need to be able to recognize when they have made a mistake entering data. "The danger of a program like this is in entering something incorrectly and then being able to identify unrealistic or unattainable results. You need to be able to recognize the bizarre numbers when you see them," he says.

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