Non-Productive Days : Their Significance and Control
Publish Date: 04/19/2011
Productive sow days are those days when a sow or gilt is either pregnant or lactating. Therefore, a non-productive day (NPD) is any day that a sow, or a gilt once entered into the breeding herd, is neither pregnant nor nursing a litter. The number of NPD is calculated as 365 days – ([gestation days + lactation days] x litters/sow/yr). The primary significance of NPD is that they reduce the number of possible productive days and, therefore, they limit the potential number of litters per year. Assuming maximum sow inventory, limiting the number of litters produced will adversely affect the efficiency of facility utilization. The economic impact of fewer litters will depend on the value of the finished product. The number of NPD influences the ideal sow inventory since with high NPD, more sows will be needed to maintain consistent weaned pig output. If there are excessive NPD (e.g. 85 days), then there are only 280 remaining productive sow days left in the year. Further, if gestation days and lactation days are combined (e.g., 114 + 21 days = 135 days), then the maximum number of litters possible per sow is 2.07 (280 days/135 days). If there are fewer NPD (e.g. 35 days), then there will be 330 productive sow days in the year, and the potential number of litters is 2.44 (330 days/135 days). In each of these scenarios, if the number of pigs weaned equaled 10 pigs, then the effect of the 50 extra NPD between the two scenarios (85 days– 35 days) would result in 3.7 fewer pigs produced each year for each sow (24.4 – 20.7 pigs/sow/year). Put another way, each NPD is worth 0.074 pigs (3.7 pigs/50 days), or more if weaned litter sizes are larger than 10 pigs. However, the true significance of this will depend on whether pork production is profitable or not.
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Feeding for Niche Swine Production
Publish Date: 03/25/2010
The market for natural, organic, and other “niche” produced foods represents a small, but growing segment of the food market. Organic food is produced using methods aimed at enhancing the environmental health of the farm ecosystem. The philosophy of organic farming is that farmers work with nature and natural systems to enhance soil, plant and animal health, which leads to a better environment and improved human health. One of the driving forces behind the fast growth of niche food markets is increased public concern over the safety and quality of foods produced from conventional food production systems and an interest in buying locally-produced products. Niche foods are perceived by some consumers as foods that are safer for consumption, better in nutrition, or healthier to the human body than foods produced by conventional production, and having a reduced environmental impact. Regardless of the reasoning for purchasing, these products garner higher prices in the marketplace due to the increased management and production costs required for their production.
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