U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have discovered a way for producers to quickly measure a newborn piglet’s nursing ability and increase odds of survival in at-risk piglets.
Physiologist Jeffrey Vallet and fellow scientists at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, NE, developed a measuring technique called “immunocrit,” which determines whether young piglets receive adequate sow colostrum....More
National headlines are proclaiming a bacon shortage and grocery stores and bacon-burger restaurants may already be raising prices, according to a post Wednesday by Illinois blogger Stu Ellis.
In short, the headlines may push consumers away from even checking prices in the meat case, assuming that bacon is too expensive to afford for a family trying to survive the recession. But what is the real situation with regard to the availability of pork products?...More
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.
In the last few months, we have fielded numerous calls and reviewed a lot of farm data to take a hard look at why there is so much variation in farrowing rate between farms and weeks of the year....More
University of California researchers probed multiple studies of nutrient requirements in sows during lactation to learn how factors such as litter size and piglet weight gain affect milk production in sows.
Researchers were investigating better ways to model milk yield. Current models only predict average milk yield, but milk yield changes during lactation. Plus, a sow’s nutrient requirements also vary during lactation, meaning it is important to have reliable milk yield predictions....More
I recently attended a conference where there was considerable discussion about the variation between farms and production companies in cost of production. A common thought among attendees was that the variation in cost of production has been reduced as current technologies, such as genetics and housing, have been widely adopted and the industry consolidated...More
An Advanced Swine Reproduction Seminar is being offered at two locations to help pork producers perform at a higher level of management for preparing the sow and farrowing space, knowing when/how to assist farrowing sows, managing sows to maximize feed intake and more....More
Preweaning mortality is influenced by several factors affecting the sow and her litter. These factors include disease, environment, neonatal pig care, equipment design and nutrition. If we assume the sows are healthy and located in a comfortable environment at farrowing, then the piglet becomes the likely focus to reduce death losses....More
The U.S. sow herd experiences a greater than 50% replacement rate annually, an average parity at culling of 3.5 to 3.8 and fewer than 40 pigs produced during a sow’s lifetime, according to Ken Stalder, an Iowa State University animal science professor, who has reviewed available databases.
The five most common reasons sows leave the herd are:
1) Reproductive failure
2) Feet and leg soundness
5) Postweaning issues
When we looked at the Swine Management Services (SMS) database for the last 52 weeks, the average farrowing rate for 754 farms was 85%, with the top 10% of farms at 90.3% and the bottom 25% at only 79.2%...More
Sixty-four-year-old pork producer Robert Dircks has striven all of his life to build a progressive hog operation that achieves top production and high herd health that makes it a joy to raise pigs in southeast Iowa...More
As recently as five years ago, many in the U.S. pork industry felt the prospects of achieving 30 pigs/mated female/year (P/MF/Y) was a dream. Today, the 30-P/MF/Y goal can be and is being achieved on some select farms...More
In recent years, the goal of many sow units has been to achieve the elusive 30 pigs/sow/year (P/S/Y) production goal. Several units have already achieved this goal, and an elite few North American producers have surpassed the 30-pig mark...More
The number of pigs a sow can produce annually continues to be a popular measure of production efficiency. The common metric used to compile sow productivity level is the well-recognized pigs/sow/year...More
A variety of sow software management programs are used to estimate the genetic parameters and breeding values across herds, so a close examination of the traits used and the emphasis on each trait is warranted...More
A few weeks ago, a client asked us to review his production numbers and give him some suggestions on how to improve using the current labor pool.
Producers are putting more effort into saving more pigs in the farrowing area. One of the key challenges to this focus is keeping weekends fully staffed. With this in mind, we took a closer look at the day of the week sows are weaned and created a model that will help us look at the weaning question....More
The first was the family-owned and operated Ivey Spring Creek Farm (ISCF) near Goldsboro, NC, which began modestly in 1979, with select purebred Chester White and Spotted bloodlines that grew to 250 sows with the help of a low-interest, Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) loan during the Carter administration...More