Photo Galleries Help Fine-Tune Stockmanship

National Hog Farmerprides itself on the ability to provide research-based information about the business of pork production to our pork producer readers. Over the years, we have worked hard to come up with ideas on how we can help pork producers with the important job of feeding a hungry world. Toward that end, we’ve worked with the industry’s finest veterinarians, scientists, educators and other leaders to produce a series of well-received educational posters illustrating everything from recognizing swine diseases to heat detection and assisted farrowing. Recently, we’ve undertaken the process of transferring this great information into online photo galleries for producer reference.  This week we posted the first of a series of gilt selection photo galleries on the Web site. If you haven’t visited our site recently, check it out!

Our photo galleries and posters are based on topics that are top-of-mind with our producer readers. For example, sow body condition scoring is more important than ever as producers contemplate putting sows in groups and moving toward pen gestation systems. To effectively assign subjective, visual body condition scores, sows should be analyzed and scored early in gestation. Because it is critical to understand the points of evaluation on the animal, and to be able to distinguish between fat and muscle, National Hog Farmer put together a “Sow Body Condition Scoring Guidelines” photo gallery on our Web site The photos and corresponding scores can help train your eyes to see the differences in sow body condition. Captions with the photos provide descriptions, explanations and backfat estimate ranges for each body condition score.

The “Heat Detection” photo gallery was developed  because it is critical for breeding technicians to recognize the signs of estrus. When artificial insemination is used, it is imperative that the stockperson learn to simulate the actions of the boar. The more the boar is allowed to stimulate the female, the greater the chances of producing a standing response. When stimulation is provided effectively, estrus lasts longer and ovulation is greater. Learn more about heat detection techniques in this photo gallery is posted at

Educational illustrations depict normal and abnormal pig delivery positions and show delivery techniques that can help you assist a sow at farrowing. The extremely popular “See What You Feel: An Assisted Farrowing Guide” photo gallery at An additional  “Assisted Farrowing Tips” photo gallery shows how to use instruments with care when helping sows out in the farrowing room. See the Assisted Farrowing Tips photo gallery at


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The most recent addition to our photo gallery collection is the “Conformation and Structural Soundness Guidelines for Replacement Gilts” gallery.  Because it is important to evaluate replacement gilts carefully for good conformation and structural soundness, this newest photo gallery uses illustrations and photos to provide examples of good conformation and foot and leg deficiencies. The gallery is based on the first in a series of three popular National Hog Farmer educational posters illustrating conformation and structural-soundness guidelines and reproductive trait indicators for screening replacement gilts. See the photo gallery at

The National Hog Farmer educational poster series is available in a downloadable PDF format on our Web site at All posters are presented in English and Spanish, with select posters translated into Japanese, Chinese, Finnish, and even Mongolian.

We will keep you updated as we post more educational photo galleries in the coming weeks. In the meantime, is there a particular gallery or educational series that would help you in the barn? Post your suggestions in the “Comments” section below, or email  Thanks for reading National Hog Farmer!

You might also like:

Meet the 2013 Masters of the Pork Industry and Prepare to be Inspired

Canada Responds to COOL Rule

New Swine Disease Strikes Three States



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