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Prairie Swine Centre Explores Options for Optimizing Market Weights

by 5m Editor
24 October 2003, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1370. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

Manitoba Pork Council


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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1370

The Prairie Swine Centre is considering several options designed to help it increase the percentage of market hogs that fall within the weight ranges considered ideal by the packers.

To take better advantage of the premiums offered by the packing plants for hogs in the core weight range, the Prairie Swine Center has put a greater focus on weights.

The introduction of a new system, about eight months ago, under which pigs are weighed individually every two weeks starting at 20 weeks of age, has increased the ratio of pigs shipped within core from 60 percent to close to 90 percent.

Research Barn Manager Troy Donauer says the current target is 89 percent at core but the goal is to bring that figure closer to 91 or 92 percent.

"Right now the space in the barn is limiting us as to how many of those lighter animals we can hold for a length of time.

If we can either have them market normally or have a place where we can house them for that extra one to two weeks to make sure they are in the core when they go, because that's generally the animals that are out of core.

The room is empty and we've got to get the room washed and cleaned out for the next group coming in and there's a half a dozen left or something that just aren't quite heavy enough to reach core.

They may be close but it only takes a half a kilo under 85 kilos dressed to be out of core and that can lose your premium right there.

If we can manage our space a little differently, make some changes in how we move our animals around within the barn and maybe change our feeding system to put a little more weight on these animals quicker, we can get them out of the barn on time and not have to worry about those space constraints"

Donauer says the grids are very tight these days but weight premiums can range anywhere from five to ten dollars per hog.

He says the amount of time the centre spends in monitoring weight has about doubled but the extra premiums have made the effort well worthwhile.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor