Economics of Breeding, Gestating and Farrowing Hogs in Natural Pork Production; Financial Comparison

Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 2006. Naturally raised pork has become a fast-growing niche market for small mid-western livestock operators. Producer marketing organizations such as Niman Ranch and Eden Natural are working to meet growing demand. While financial numbers have been comprehensively calculated for grow-finish operations in this sector, particularly with hoop production systems being compared to conventional production systems, there has been a lack of information on the breeding and farrowing stages. The objective of this report is to provide an analysis of breeding and farrowing production costs and financial analysis for naturally raised pigs in a hoop production system. A low investment pork operation typical to that of a Niman Ranch sized operation (100 breeding sows) is utilized for the analysis. The lactating period is 5 weeks with therapeutic use of antibiotics only. We will examine costs per weaner pig for different types of facilities and herd management techniques.