Canadian Feeder Pigs

The impact of exchange rates and trade rules shows up in our pork industry in a variety of ways. For instance, poultry and swine producers in the southeast region of the US can now bring in grain from South American at a price that is very competitive with the price of US grain sourced from the Midwest. This is because of the strength of the US dollar versus the Brazilian Real and the Argentinian Peso and the cost to transport grain within the US. Read More...

Slaughter Weight Thoughts

I continue to get asked about expectations for slaughter weights this coming year. My standard reply – we’ll continue to add weight as long as feed grains remain relatively cheap and we continue to make progress in improving feed conversion. In reviewing data from private research trials where pigs have been taken to 330+ lb, it’s pretty rare to see feed conversions for terminal crossbred barrows and gilts get to 4:1 for any weigh period prior to 300 lb liveweight. Some genetic lines have conversions better than this to weights approaching 330 lb. Read More...

Manitoba facility cost estimates versus US costs

As most readers of this blog are aware, there has been little new construction of pig production facilities in Manitoba for many years. However, with the easing of the provincial moratorium there is interest in new facilities. Some of this interest is to replace existing facilities and some is possible expansion to supply market pigs both to the Maple Leaf plant at Brandon and for possible export to US markets now that MCOOL has been repealed. Read More...

Environmental challenges of raising pigs in the upper midwest

With the mild fall in southern Minnesota and Iowa, pig performance has been outstanding based on the closeouts I’ve seen recently from client sites. With new crop corn and the ability to keep barns within the thermal-neutral range, feed intake has been impressive. This has driven daily gain (and sale weights). I know many producers have had grow-finish closeout groups with daily gains above 2 lb/d. Read More...

winter ventilation mistakes

In early November I had data loggers placed in production facilities in west central Minnesota to collect producer data for an upcoming ventilation workshop. In addition to logging temperatures every 2 minutes for a 7 day period we collected information on the ventilation system, including inlets, fans, controllers and controller settings. Read More...

Some random thoughts this week

Earlier this week I drove to Lincoln, Nebraska and back to Mankato. There is a lot of corn piled at country elevators everywhere along the route. While some of it is covered (both with and without aeration fans under the covers) there was a lot of exposed corn getting wet from the recent rains. Keep in mind that with the warm fall, this corn went into the piles warm.  Read More...