Publish Date: 10/15/2020
There is no best way to dispose of swine mortality carcasses. While some methods may work well for managing routine mortalities, the ability to scale them up to handle large numbers can be difficult. These methods may not adapt to times when catastrophic mortalities occur. The optimum system for any particular farm location is based on a number of criteria, including the current state of the protein/oil market, the biosecurity required, the distance to processing sites, the local public's perception, the government regulations that apply to that location, the environmental conditions, and the ability of the farm to carry out the different procedures. The death losses at a farm can be classified broadly as one of two types, routine or catastrophic. Routine mortalities represent a small proportion of herd and occur throughout the course of normal production. Catastrophic mortality events involve high death losses within a distinct period of time. These methods can also be used for catastrophic loses but the larger scale in a shorter time frame often increases process intensity. Additionally if losses are due to disease, they have a higher biosecurity risk.
Publish Date: 09/01/2020
The transition in the swine industry to confinement production, where extensive mechanical systems are used automate many routine processes, has created new management needs and challenges. These mechanical systems wear and are prone to failures; therefore, they must be maintained to keep the facility functioning correctly. The cost of the repairs and maintenance can vary widely based on the maintenance program followed and the original equipment installed. Iowa State Extension estimates that the cost of repairs and maintenance annually is 1.5% of the barns original cost, although the type of maintenance program is unknown (Christensen, 2019). To minimize the cost and maximize the barn’s efficiency and lifespan, a maintenance programs must be created and implemented. The different electromechanical systems in a barn (ventilation, feed, water, etc.) all have components that could lead to system failure, thereby having a negative impact on production and pig welfare. For example it has been noted that a feed outage lasting 24 hours can cost at least $1.00 per head in finishing situation (Hollis, 2006). This could be caused by an equipment failure in the feed system and the costs would likely increase rapidly if compounded with multiple equipment failures.
Publish Date: 07/01/2020
It is estimated that by the year 2050 the world population will be over 9 billion people and food production will need to increase up to 60% more to meet demand (FAO 2009). Therefore, livestock production would likely intensify increasing animal density and lowering the stockperson per animal ratio. This will result in less time available to monitor and manage individual animals properly, jeopardizing animal health and welfare. Currently, there is a growing interest to automate swine welfare assessment using precision livestock farming (PLF) which increases the farmer’s ability to keep contact with individual animals in the growing livestock production intensification.
Publish Date: 01/27/2020
Biosecurity is critical to keep pigs healthy, and the implementation of biosecurity practices, no matter the production type, can help to reduce risk. In this video we will describe useful intervention strategies including clean/dirty lines, hand sanitation and perimeter exclusion ideas to minimize the risk of pathogens tracking in and around the farm.
Publish Date: 01/27/2020
Biosecurity is critical to keep pigs healthy, and the implementation of biosecurity practices, no matter the production type, can help to reduce risk. Alternative pork production presents unique challenges for biosecurity. This video, the first in a short series, will help explain how to avoid the introduction and spread of disease on the farm.
Publish Date: 01/27/2020
One of the most important considerations for alternative (niche) swine production systems is where to source ingredients and feed. A consistent, quality supply should be the first goal. Since feed represents one of the highest production costs for pork producers, options to reduce feed costs should also be considered. This video will explain several option to consider.
Publish Date: 11/01/2019
Economies of scale and the greater need for efficiency have resulted in the vast majority of pigs being raised indoors. These artificial environments have a great impact on production performance and the health status of both the pig and the worker. With the pork industry becoming more integrated, uniform-style barns are built in multiples, and an error in design can be multiplied many times over. This situation highlights the continued need for adhering to basic design principles in ventilation and environmental control.
Publish Date: 09/23/2019
A pig can become non-ambulatory anytime on-farm due to injury, illness or fatigue (Benjamin, 2005). Hence, caretakers may be required to move non-ambulatory pigs into or out of pens, alleys and load out areas. The National Pork Board provides guidance about humane swine handling of healthy and non-ambulatory pigs through their Pork Quality Assurance Plus and Transport Quality Assurance programs (NPB, 2019, 2017). This factsheet provides information related to handling tools that are options to move a non-ambulatory pig on-farm.
Publish Date: 06/24/2019
This video gives you a behind the scenes tour of a commercial swine farm and the daily operations that take place. As a young swine producer, it is important to understand the correct terminology and practices that occur out in the industry so that you can be a credible advocate for the industry.