Case study: the hidden cost of old, worn-out ad-lib feeders

Pig producer, David Childerhouse, is one of AHDB’s monitor farmers who is introducing the use of lean management principles, as he is committed to continuous improvement.

When he and his team started to break processes down into sections, he could see immediately where time savings could be made, especially when multiplied many times over.

He identified feed wastage from some old ad-lib hoppers but wasn’t sure how much it was costing the business. Following a Kaizen workshop, Mr Childerhouse calculated the true extent of the waste, along with other savings associated with replacing the old hoppers.


Replacement costs to buy new hoppers: £19,550

Sale of old hoppers: £5,000 income

Total cost: £14,550

Quantity of feed wasted across 20 hoppers: 700kg/week

Total feed wasted: 36,400kg/year

Cost of wasted feed: 36.4 t x £375 = £13,650

Additional savings made by purchasing bigger hoppers and cutting down the frequency of filling them up from weekly to every other week resulted in manpower savings of £585 and tractor running costs of £234 a year. This simple exercise demonstrated that the purchase costs of the new feeders would be repaid within the first year.

Mr Childerhouse also identified a potential benefit of an increase in the weaned weight of piglets due to the presentation of quality feed from the new hoppers. This could result in a contract bonus of around 50p/kg, equating to a potential increased income of approximately £6K.

The next phase of the lean programme will consist of measuring the impact of the changes and continuing the close working relationships with Neil Fedden and the Monitor Farms.