Pork Insight Articles

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Author(s): N.S. Ferguson
Publication Date: March 28, 2013
Reference: London Swine Conference, 2013
Country: Canada


The difference between the average individual and the population mean response depends on the amount of genetic variation in a herd. For some matters, like nutrition, the difference can have a large impact on performance. Variation between animals can occur because of differences in genetic growth potential, starting weights, social interactions, and herd health status. This variation can affect how an animal responds to a stressful situation, for example, shipping. This study compared shipping strategies. The first strategy is to ship at a minimum weight of 120 kg, and the second is to ship at a minimum 123 kg after the first week of 120 kg. The results and further combinations will help to determine the ideal shipping pattern. The next part was a case study comparing a conventional shipping strategy to an alternative one. The alternative strategy shipped only twice: at 13 and 17 weeks. The alternative strategy resulted in higher feed costs, lower feed efficiency, lower transport costs, and more variation in weight. The ideal shipping strategy will depend on the farm, and how tight weight constraints are for market pigs.

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