Weigh pigs to cut loss of earnings, says Bpex

To help cut loss of earnings, pig producers should weigh their growing pigs, concluded speakers at Bpex’s ‘Focus on Finishing’ conference.

Around 30% of pigs fail to reach target slaughter weight, explained conference speaker Joao Cavaco Rodrigues, who is a swine business unit manager at Elanco. “That may be because of mortality, culls or poor growth resulting in ‘light’ pigs.

“Because losses happen gradually, producers are often not even aware of them and it can be difficult to pinpoint where in the cycle they occur,” he added.

According to Rodrigues, pigs should be weighed at each stage of production to provide information that will help producers spot trends and issues. Although he admitted there would be extra labour involved in weighing pigs, he advised there was no need to weigh every pig in the batch.

Rodrigues said: “You have to diagnose the problem first in order to find the solution. Once producers have identified when and where performance is dipping, they can target changes to that part of the system to improve health and growth efficiency.”

Researcher at Canada’s Prairie Swine Centre Yolande Seddon also explained that weighing pigs can help producers spot serious problems such as disease. Seddon said: “Subclinical disease can cause considerable growth losses on finishing units and is a problem because it cannot actually be seen.”

“But there is a lot that can be done at a low cost to identify underlying health problems and reduce their impact – for example, monitoring water consumption, using simple health scores like recording the amount of coughing and weighing pigs.

“Weighing pigs is worth the time as it helps target where to make changes which can, ultimately, mean less overall effort for greater results.”

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