Partners in Progress
MFA and Ralco join forces to provide customers with premium show pig feed and personal advice
This show season, MFA and Ralco Nutrition are expanding a partnership to deliver premium show pig feed and feeding advice to MFA customers. Ralco specializes in nutrition technology and premixes that increase feed efficiency and animal performance.
Two years ago, Ralco started pursuing show pig feed and supplements using its premixes and oils under the Ralco Show brand. The company’s goal was to create a cost-effective feed that put more efficient weight gain on hogs. Ralco show feed focuses on the hog’s digestive health. “If that gut is right, everything else works better. There’s better tissue growth, muscle, connective tissue, bone mass—everything works better with the gut,” said Mark McClurg, Ralco Show director.
Show hogs go to numerous jackpot shows and experience an abundance of stress. Instead of using energy to grow, stressed hogs burn energy eating, excreting, regulating temperature and digesting McClurg said. Because of this, most hogs only convert 50 percent of the feed they eat to actual growth. When on Ralco feed, this conversion is 75 percent. McClurg said the feed meets the hog’s energy requirements to function normally, using only the essential 11 amino acids, along with Ralco’s EnMax technology and less soybean meal to keep the diet cool. The result is less feed needed for a higher growth rate.
Show pig breeder and judge Bobby Listen tested Ralco’s first complete feed two years ago and won the largest hog show in the country, the Oklahoma Youth Expo.
Since then, “It’s been a whirlwind,” said McClurg. Last year at the Oklahoma Youth Expo, nearly 30 of the 36 hogs placed in the premium sale were on Ralco feed.
The feed worked, but Ralco faced a logistical problem. “Ralco doesn’t own feed mills,” said McClurg. Ralco knew that if it created demand for a successful feed, it would need a partner in manufacturing and distribution. McClurg said Ralco was drawn to MFA for its ability to manufacture and distribute a quality feed at an economical price. “And most of all, the kids have to be first,” McClurg said. “MFA has a big history being involved with 4-H and FFA across the state and in Kansas,” he said.
With MFA handling manufacturing and distribution logistics, Ralco is well suited to build demand for its show feed.
The partnership brings value to MFA as well through Ralco’s sales force.
“They have people that will go out and make calls. They also have the products to bring the best out in that animal. They know the show circuit,” said Mike Spidle, MFA director of feed sales. “I think they are going to be a good partner for us for a long time. Not just on the show side, but as we progress forward,” he said.
The Ralco team wants to be involved with their customers’ projects too. This spring, Ralco will host one-day camps focused on teaching youth the science of nutrition and the art of raising prize-winning hogs.
“It’s a totally different way to feed show pigs. We’re not trying to sell every supplement that we have because every pig doesn’t need them,” McClurg said. “We know how hogs react to our program. These are some of the same things you would teach no matter what feeding program you were on,” he said.
Ralco’s seminars are geared toward helping kids with limited knowledge or resources. “There’s always that elite group of people who are always at the top, always in the winners circle. They have all the secrets, bells and whistles. It’s always going to be that way and that’s great,” McClurg said. He said that class of exhibitors represents about 20 percent of all competitors. McClurg wants to help the other 80 percent. “We need to invest in these kids. If we make a feeding program that helps them without having to know these five million secrets, then they make the choice as they grow up if they want to be a really serious competitor or if they just want to enjoy it,” McClurg said. The success of Ralco’s feeding strategy is in its simplicity. “We have five rations from start to finish, where everybody else might have 25 or 30. We want to use the supplements to fill in the holes, not come up with a different line of feed or another ration to do that in, so we make the program simpler and easier to understand,” McClurg said.
For more information, contact Mike Spidle at
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