Full pit options in the summer

In the past 2 weeks I’ve traveled across much of northeast and central Nebraska, northern Illinois and eastern Iowa. Other than low spots being too wet, the corn and soybean crop is looking very good.

While my last blog dealt with corn quality concerns, apparently it isn’t too big of an issue in Iowa and Southern Minnesota, based on USDA sale weight data. For the week ending July 31, the average Iowa/SMinnesota sale weight was 267 lbs, the heaviest ever for this week of the year.

I expect sale weight to drop in coming weeks. I’m getting quite a few calls and comments regarding hot pigs. In some situations, production systems are limiting sprinkling of growing pigs because of full pit concerns. If this is occurring in your barns, my guess is that you are giving up 15-20 pounds in sale weight if you have to move pigs out on a fixed schedule.

With the weather we’ve been having this week (dew points above 70F and air temperatures in the upper 80’s and 90’s), adding water to the surface of the pig and allowing them to evaporate the water is still the best way to help them stay in their comfort zone and eating. I know many growers and producers have no options for manure removal when their pits are filling.

I’ve often wondered if producers shouldn’t plant 5+ acres of a summer crop such as oats, wheat or barley so they have a home for 20-30,000 gal of manure this time of year. The difference in sale weight for those that can’t sprinkle pigs now due to full pit concerns would more than pay for the inconvenience and lost revenue from such a decision.

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