GFM Network News


Dr. Billy Flowers speaking at the Banff Pork Seminar.

Understanding factors affecting sow longevity

A speaker at the Banff Port Seminar analyzes the differences between two farms with different average longevities


High replacement rates for first- and second-parity sows have skewed current parity structures on many sow farms towards younger, less productive females, Dr. Billy Flowers of North Carolina State University told the recent Banff Pork Seminar. He said that as a result, herd productivity is being limited because females are culled before they reach their

Be realistic about replacement rate

Peet on Pigs

There is a popular misconception that replacing about one-third of a sow herd each year is a good target, despite the fact that I rarely see or hear of a herd achieving it. This probably stems back to the dim and distant past when sows were less productive and rather more hardy than today’s high-octane


Immunological castration boosts profit by $5 per hog

Peet on Pigs

An independent study shows significant gains for producers using alternative to conventional castration

Apanel of independent U.S. economists has found producers who use immunological castration (IC) can generate a potential increase of $5.32 per head over conventionally castrated barrows. The benefit is primarily derived from being able to market the treated pigs at a heavier carcass weight, an increase in feed efficiency, and cost saving from not having

Electronic sow feeding first choice for productivity

When considering group sow-housing systems, electronic sow feeding (ESF) is likely the best choice for pig producers with high productivity expectations, according to Thomas Parsons at the University of Pennsylvania. “We now have farms pushing above 30 pigs weaned per sow per year and thus the technology itself, if properly managed, is not a barrier

Optimizing the use of energy in pig feeds

With the cost of dietary energy more than doubling in the last eight years, it’s vitally important to optimize the efficiency with which it is utilized. Meeting the energy specifications of a typical grower diet now represents about 85 per cent of the cost of the diet and over 50 per cent of the total


There are many ways to improve farrowing rates

There’s a large variation in farrowing rate between farms, ranging from as low as 75 per cent to around 92 per cent. Many producers still view 85 per cent as being an acceptable target and figure it can’t be improved much further. But close attention to a range of management factors can often result in

Continued uncertainty for hog producers in 2013

After a six-year period of poor profitability, Canadian producers are on a knife edge, especially those in the West. With the hog price at around $1.45 and production costs of at least $170 per hog, they have been bleeding cash over the winter. And now the latest census data suggests that the supply of hogs

Feed withdrawal saves costs and contamination

Not withdrawing feed for a period prior to shipping market hogs can cost up to $5 per head, according to Dr. Eduardo Beltranena of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. Not only that, he says, it can also increase transportation losses and compromise pork safety. However, while packer contracts stipulate that feed withdrawal should be carried


Managing the transition to group sow housing

There is now a growing acceptance in the Canadian pork industry that producers must eventually move away from sow stalls and towards group housing. When the new welfare codes of practice are released this summer, they will likely require that no new stall housing is built after 2014 and that existing facilities are converted to

Getting the most from herd-recording data

Banff speaker outlines key factors which he believes make the biggest contribution 
to the number of quality pigs weaned per sow.

There are literally dozens of different swine herd-recording programs. Most producers use a computer-based system to monitor performance, but do producers extract maximum value from their data? Ron Ketchem, a partner in Swine Management Services of Fremont, Nebraska, thinks not. Speaking at the Banff Pork Seminar, he described how his company analyzes data from more