PIG producers are being urged to weigh their animals while they are still growing as part of efforts to boost earnings.
The advice came out of Bpex’s recent 2TS Focus on Finishing conferences, which looked at improving weights and efficiencies.
Joao Cavaco Rodrigues, swine business unit manager at Elanco, said: “Up to 30% of pigs can fail to reach target weight at slaughter, whether that is because of mortality, culls or poor growth resulting in ‘light’ pigs.
“Because losses happen gradually, producers are often not even aware of them and it can be difficult to pinpoint where in the cycle they occur.”
Bpex said that weighing pigs at each stage of production provides the information to spot trends and issues. Rather than weighing each batch, producers can get valuable information by weighing just one group of pigs at each stage as a one-off exercise or an exercise they do each year.
Bpex said that once producers have identified when and where performance is dipping, they can target changes to that part of the system to improve health and growth efficiency.
Low-cost changes such as monitoring water consumption, using simple health scores like recording the amount of coughing and weighing pigs can help identify any health issues preventing pigs reaching their full potential.
Yolande Seddon, research fellow at the Prairie Swine Centre in Canada, said: “Subclinical disease can cause considerable growth losses on finishing units and is a problem because it can’t actually be seen.
“Weighing pigs is worth the time as it helps target where to make changes which can, ultimately, mean less overall effort for greater results.”