4 months of VFD experience

This weekend marks 4 months since medically important antibiotics could only be added to swine diets with a VFD (Veterinary Feed Directive). The past 2 days I was at a national sales meeting for a nutrition supplier to the US industry and the experiences of mills and sales people with the VFD’s was a topic of discussion.

The good news – not a lot of ‘bad’ stories out there in the swine industry. As a general rule our industry was pretty prepared for the change relative to the beef industry. Yes there have been some problems, such as small animal veterinarian trying to write a VFD for a swine client in a non-dense hog region – apparently it was a ‘steep’ learning curve for that veterinarian.

What is clear after 4 months is how the costs of this new method of feed additive directive are lining up pretty consistent and how the feed milling industry and veterinary profession are passing the costs along to the industry. It appears that a pretty common fee to write a VFD by a veterinarian is $40 unless there is some sort of other pricing agreement for services in place. Some veterinarians charge a constant fee for all VFD’s while others charge less for subsequent VFD’s written at the same time for the same client.

Feed mills appear to be moving towards increasing the cost of any feed additive that requires a VFD rather than increasing the cost of milling and delivery services to all clients. The mark up does vary somewhat between mills but for sure the mills have increased costs associated with VFD’s that they need to recover.

The other common comment was the absolute decline in the use of medically important antibiotics in swine diets. In pig starters many have switched from Denegard/CTC (probably the most common combination product in starter diets last year) to either Mecadox or no drug in the diet. All of the sales force was hearing of increased use of water delivery for products such as CTC, etc. on producer sites.

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