While the temperature in Mankato, MN is only 31F this afternoon and we’ve still got a lot of snow and water to get rid of, summer will come to the upper Midwest in the coming months. Summer in the pork industry typically means the highest prices for market pigs and the most difficulty in maintaining sales weight.
I generally begin receiving calls in early to mid June from producers about management strategies to keep pigs eating and gaining in summer heat. However, for some pigs, thinking about summer management in mid-June is too late.
Pigs that are placed in finishing facilities in the next few weeks will be sold to slaughter in late July and August. If one of your weight gain strategies is diet modification, should you begin modifying the diets of the pigs you are placing now? With the prospect of cash hogs being over $70 for some of the coming months, a 5 pound increase in sale weight is worth $3.50 or more in added income.
We think about summer markets and weight loss due to heat occurring in July and August. However, in the past few years, the yearly high price has often occurred in mid-late May. If that happens this year, any management strategy you can apply to pigs in facilities today that results in an increase in sale weight will have a huge financial impact on your income. Mid-May is only 8 weeks away so pigs that are weighing 125 pounds now in grow-finish facilities are candidates for management strategies that have the potential to increase sale weight.
Now is the time to talk with your consulting veterinarian, nutritionist and other advisors about possible management strategies to let you capture more income this summer. Waiting until June for this discussion may result in you missing several months of opportunity.