Labor estimates for production facilities

I was asked this morning for information on the labor needs of production facilities. While our facilities have become somewhat standardized (fully slatted, 1100-1250 hd/room), who provides the labor for daily pig care is not. Labor may be provided by the pig owner, the contract grower or a 3rd party in the case where the production facility is owned by an investment group or grain farmer. I know as I visit production sites in the upper Midwest there are a lot of people taking care of pigs in production facilities where they have no ownership stake in either the facility or the pigs. Read More...

I’m learning every day

This week I’m getting a lesson in ‘fear’ that many of you have had when a key employee left for another opportunity. The research coordinator for our research barns last day of employment was last Friday. Until we are successful in hiring and training a replacement, the overall coordination of pig flows and data that she did is being done by me. With an inventory of around 11,000 individually tagged and weighed wean-finish pigs currently in inventory I’m fearful of screwing up the data that seemed to flow from the barns with relative ease under her direction for the last 7 years.  Read More...

Industry Cost of Production Benchmarking

Access to cost of production records for benchmarking purposes is difficult in the swine industry. As the industry has consolidated and specialized there is less sharing of cost data. In the 80’s and 90’s both Iowa State University and the University of Nebraska conducted swine enterprise records programs to assist traditional producers in identifying their costs of production and opportunities for improvements. Read More...

Productivity of the US Breeding Herd

Last week I was asked by 2 different clients for data on the productivity of the US breeding herd. In reply to their question I went back and looked at data from the quarterly USDA Hogs and Pigs report. I reviewed the data from June 1 thru May 31 for the 1992-93, 2002-03 and 2012-13 periods. I also reviewed the data from the PigCHAMP record system annual production summary for US cooperators. Read More...