Prairie Swine Centre

 Industry Partners

Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan

Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:

Using creep feeding as a strategy to improve post weaning feed intake and piglet growth

Posted in: Nutrition, Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Press Releases by PSCI on September 5, 2017 | No Comments

Overall, the provision of creep feed for 5 days prior to weaning had no effect on weaning weights or growth rate from day 21 to weaning, however, modest effects were observed on piglet growth rate in the nursery. Interestingly, within the creep treatment, it was the lighter piglets which took advantage of the creep feed, and this subset of piglets showed an improved growth rate. Therefore, the provision of creep feed in the farrowing room provides benefits to piglets that show evidence of consumption and it is the lighter-weight piglets which benefit most from the provision of creep feed, and thus within litter variability may be reduced.

Creep Feeding

Science of Ethology

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Press Releases, Welfare by PSCI on August 8, 2017 | No Comments

The field of Animal Science experienced an expansion of its goals during and subsequent to the 1960s. Much of this shift could be explained by concern over the intensive production practices that had developed. In addition to the goals of productivity and efficiency, issues such as food safety, environmental protection, and animal welfare became issues for the public, and therefore the producer. Animal agriculture not only had to be efficient, but it had to be carried out in a socially conscious manner. Just as productivity and efficiency involved several disciplines, the new goals (impact on behavior and welfare) were also best addressed in a multi-disciplinary manner, including several new ones.not sure about this, can we be more specific?

Ethology, or the study of animal behaviour, has had a role during both eras of Animal Science. As the discipline developed within biology in the mid-twentieth century, its applied component studied means to improve productivity in farm animals. Although a relatively minor discipline of the day, its contribution to animal productivity included reproductive, maternal, social and feeding behaviours as well as environmental control. There were few scientists in applied ethology. In the 1970s only three Canadian universities had agricultural faculty for whom behaviour could be called their primary discipline.

With greater emphasis on social concerns, ethology took on an expanded role, particularly in the area of animal care and welfare. This goal is still multi-disciplinary (see chapter on Animal Welfare Science), but ethology has been the most widely recognized of those disciplines. Much of the work has been to determine how well an animal can adapt to its production environment. In meeting this need for welfare assessment the discipline of ‘applied ethology’ has to some degree become the discipline of ‘welfare science’. Many of its scientists have become proficient, through personal training or collaboration, in disciplines such as stress physiology, immunology and environmental management.

However, the discipline also retains a strong production component. As consumers demand a change in production practices, ethology joins with other disciplines in finding ways to produce efficiently under the new standards. As an example, prod-free handling has become the standard for most situations in the pig industry for reasons of both welfare and meat quality. Ethology has contributed to this transition in management through facility design, handling methods, and training of personnel.

The bulk of this publication is on sow housing and management. Once the industry within a country decides to move to group housing, the role of ethology has been to develop facilities and management methods to ensure efficient production within those systems. Thus we now talk of grouping strategies, mixing vs feeding based aggression, and competitive vs non-competitive systems. All of these are based on behavioural principles.

Impact of piglet birth weight and birth order on subsequent growout performance, carcass quality, muscle composition and eating quality of pork

Posted in: Meat Quality, Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre by PSCI on July 31, 2017 | No Comments

This study wanted to answer the questions of:

Does reduced birth weight result In changes In muscle fibre number and/or type?
Does reduced birth weight affect the eating quality of pork?

• As litter size increased, average birth weight decreased
• The variability in birth weight within a litter was unaffected by litter size
• Weaning weight, and weight at 5 and 7 wks post-weaning were unaffected by litter

•Carcass quality was consistent across all groups


Impact of piglet birth weight and birth order on subsequent growth performance, carcass quality, muscle composition and eating quality of pork

Effect of litter size and parity on farrowing room productivity and grow-finish performance

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Production by PSCI on | No Comments

Sows that farrowed larger litters weaned more pigs and sent more pigs to the
finisher unit, even though mortality was higher and the average birth weight of these litters was lower.

• Increased litter size resulted in:
– Decreased average birth weight
-No effect on birthweight SD
-No effect on body weight at 7 wk post·weaning
– No effect on carcass parameters

• Decreased birth weight resulted in:
-Increased days to market
– No effect on the lean or fat content of picnic, loin, hock or ham
-No overall effect on palatability
– No effect on carcass parameters

Effect of litter size and parity on farrowing room

Production VS profit- balancing income and expenses

Posted in: Economics, Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre by PSCI on | No Comments

Balancing income and expenses
Time line for implementation
• Short term versus long term

Managment and labour requirments
• High versus low labour requirments
• High versus low management requirements

Financial implications
• New capital investment or not
• Increased operating cost or not
• Speed of return on Investment of capital and/or operating dollars

Risk versus reward
• High risk versus low risk
• High reward versus low reward
• Security versus flexibility


ACTION 1- Reformulate diets as required

ACTION 2- Optimize dietary energy level to maximize net income

ACTION 3- Exploit the full diversity of available ingredients

ACTION 4- Gradually convert DE/ME to NE

ACTION 5- Track the implementation of feed budget

ACTION 6- Increase growth through management and capital investment

ACTION 7- Regularly review shipping weights to ensure they optimize net income

ACTION 8- Minimize sort losses but avoid overdoing it

ACTION 9- Optimize sow herd productivity

ACTION 10- Trim inorganic phosphate in the diet and utilize phytase


Production VS profit- balancing income and expenses

New Innovations in Barn Manure Handling

Posted in: Air Filtration, Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre by PSCI on July 10, 2017 | No Comments

“Two rooms have been built at the Floral site of Prairie Swine Centre to be used as air quality labs in a study of air contamination in intensive swine units. Two manure handling systems are presently being tested in order to decide which manure handling system is better at reducing the airborne contamination from manure. This will be followed by studies on feed and feeders, to allow future testing of the effects of various air qualities on pigs and people in these rooms. Future designs of buildings and equipment can then concentrate on reducing the air contamination that is the most harmful to pigs and workers.”

New Innovations in Barn Manure Handling

Another Look at the Nursery: Financial Considerations

Posted in: Economics, Nutrition, Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Production by PSCI on | No Comments

Farms differ in many ways, but the author suspects that the goals of the nursery are common throughout all commercial units and discusses how best to improve upon each goal:
• Maximize nursery exist weights, as a solid platform for the move to the grow out barn
• Minimize mortality
• Minimize the need for medical treatment
• Minimize feed costs, calculated as feed cost per kg gain and feed cost per pig
• Maximize uniformity

Sometimes, financial value can be assigned to a feeder pig leaving a nursery, even if it is not sold. A model of economic value for the feeder pig, within the context of the full production system, would be highly beneficial, because profits can clearly be made or lost within the nursery.

Another Look at the Nursery- financial considerations

Surviving the Tough Times

Posted in: Economics, Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Production by PSCI on | No Comments

This lecture offers a variety of methods for reducing cost of operation and increasing revenue.

A feed budget: Provides a foundation of expected performance. Actual measures of
performance can be measured and compared with the expectations. If there is a shortfall in performance, corrective action can be taken.

Seasonal diets: When seasons change, nutrient specifics should be reexamined, as hot weather diets are typically quite different from cold weather diets.

Split-sex feeding: Is not frequently practiced due to the practical challenge of delivering different diets. The savings are worth the effort. Barrows grow 8-10% faster than gilts. Gilts require diets 7-10% higher amino acid levels over barrows. Previous research at PSC shows that split sex and phase feeding combined increases net income by about $4.50 per pig.

Reformulating diets during volatile times in the market: Much of the benefit of phase feeding will be lost however if diets are not regularly reformulated to reflect current ingredient markets.

Hitting the core: A simple method developed at the Centre involves weighing all pigs at the first shipping day. All pigs in the correct weight are shipped that day, but by knowing the typical ADG, you can project forward one week and mark those pigs with a distinct colour that will be ready next week, and different from the colour markings on the pigs to be shipped this week. There are herds that have improved their ability to market only 70% in the core and increase this to 90%+ using this method.

Wet/dry feeders: Address the water wastage concern by incorporating a nipple drinker in the feed bowl as the only source of water, reducing water use by 30%, and slurry volume by 20-40%.

Surviving the Tough Times


Exploring Opportunities in Using Alternative Feedstuffs

Posted in: Nutrition, Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre by PSCI on | No Comments

The current market prices of pigs and protein sources have forced the pork industry to explore ways to reduce feed costs while maintaining swine performance. Inclusion of opportunity ingredients that are normally not considered for diet formulation may be one such method. Some opportunity ingredients and their proper inclusion into swine diets will be discussed in the following paper.

Meat and bone meal: This ingredient is fairly low cost making it a suitable replacement for soybean meal. However the use of animal byproducts is controversial and depending on its source meat and bone meal can have a wide variety of nutrient levels. To avoid reductions in growth and performance this can only be included for around 5-7.5% in the diet.

Field peas: The DE content of field peas is difficult to predict making it hard to incorporate into diets however they are high in protein and energy content, this combined with high palatability makes them worthwhile for inclusion in swine diets.

Lentils: The optimum inclusion rate of lentils has not been determined thoroughly; however, one trial indicated that diets containing 40% ground lentils supported similar growth to a soybean meal-based diet and some western Canadian research indicated that 30% lentils could be included in diets fed to grower-finisher pigs without hampering pig performance. The protein content of lentils is on average slightly higher than in field peas. Similar to other legume seeds, lentils have a low sulphur amino acid content, and care must be taken during diet formulation to ensure that enough methionine in the right ratio to cystine is provided in the diet.

Corn DDGS: Corn DOGS has a similar DE content than the originating corn. Corn DOGS is especially high in oil content, and the main reason for upper inclusion levels for corn DOGS in diets for grower finisher pigs to prevent reductions in carcass quality and growth performance. Pellet quality may also be reduced following inclusion of corn DOGS, especially in corn diets. Samples from corn DOGS should be analyzed carefully for colour. A yellow colour is indicative of proper drying whereas a dark brown colour is indicative of excessive heat during drying and therefore reduced availability of enclosed nutrients for swine.


Slots Master There is no definite strategy or technique that you can use as you play slots