Labor needs in production units

The 4th of July holiday is tomorrow. Many readers of this blog in the United States are taking today as a vacation day so market activities will be diminished somewhat. At the same time, life in production units continues as pigs don’t take holidays. Opponents of livestock production often fail to understand the dedication of those involved in the daily care of animals. When it is +90F outside and a national holiday, someone is still on-site doing all of the little things to assure animal comfort and welfare.

I’ve been getting quite a few questions lately on the labor needs of various stages of production. The following are general guidelines based on my contacts in the industry but can serve as a benchmark for what is ‘reasonable’. Labor in the following does not include manure management nor feed processing. Labor is based on FTE (full time equivalent). This is assumed to be approximately a 45 hour week and 50 weeks per year.

Breed-wean – 1.0 FTE per 250-300 females. The range is due to such items as GDU on site, pen versus crate gestation, etc.

Nursery – 1.0 FTE per 8000 pigs. This includes power washing between pig groups, etc.

Wean-finish – 1.0 FTE per 8-10,000 pigs. This varies somewhat depending on single versus double stock, marking of pigs for sale to slaughter, power washing, etc.

Grow-finish – 1.0 FTE per 10-12,000 pigs. This varies some depending on who marks pigs for sale, who does power washing, etc.

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