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:

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 admin 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

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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

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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 admin 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

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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

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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

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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.


The effect of the Ca: total phosphorus ratio on the efficacy of supplemental phytase in the diets of weanling swine – monograph

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Phytase (500 FTU/kg) addition to com-soymeal diets fed to weanling pigs increased P digestibility from 42 to 53 %. Moreover, the excretion of soluble inorganic P in the faeces, whether expressed in g/d or as a proportion of total P intake was decreased with the addition of 500 FfU phytase to the diet. The efficacy of phytase was decreased as the Ca:tP ratio increased from 1.12 to 2.31. Adding phytase to a swine diet decreases output of total P in the manure. If the diet is formulated to account for the increased available P due to the phytase (ie. reduced tP) then the excretion of water soluble phytase in the manure will decrease similar to the reduction in tP excreted.

The effect of Ca- total phosphorus ratio on the efficacy of supplemental phytase in the diets of weanling swine

Potential of Cereal By-Products from Ethanol Production as Feed Ingredients for Swine Production -Monograph

Posted in: Nutrition, Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Prairie Swine Centre old by admin on July 7, 2017 | No Comments

With the tremendous growth of the ethanol industry, more and more by-products – namely, distiller’s grains and thin stillage (DDGS) are available for livestock rations. The nutritional value of dried wheat distiller’s grain for grower-finisher pigs was prior to start of the project unknown, especially the value of wheat DDGS produced in western Canada.

The main objectives for a series of experiment were to: a) characterize the nutritional value of wheat-based DDGS, b) to determine the impact on nutrient excretion, c) optimize feed strategies, and 4) to detect impact on carcass quality. Therefore, to study this feedstuff, the project was initiated with a digestibility experiment with cannulated grower-finisher pigs fed one wheat control diet and 3 dried distiller’s grain diets (corn, corn and wheat, and wheat distiller’s grain). Ingredient, feed, faeces, and digesta samples were collected and were analyzed to determine DE, digestible amino acid, and digestible phosphorus content for the three DDGS samples. This first project indicated in total that wheat DDGS can be used as a feedstuff for swine, but has a lower nutritional value than the parent wheat. However, feeding of wheat DDGS, in particular poor quality wheat DDGS might reduce voluntary feed intake. Feeding of wheat DDGS will increase N excretion, and may reduce P excretion, due to high P digestibility due to degradation of phytate. As such feed wheat DDGS to nursery and grower-finisher pigs may have to be limited to 10 to 20%, for poor quality wheat DDGS, whereas wheat DDGS might be fed up to 30% in finisher pigs, if a good or excellent quality. If proper diet formulation is used (NE and SID AA content), impact on carcass quality is limited but dressing percentage will be reduced by 1 to 2% due to a higher weight of the gastro-intestinal tract due to the additional fibre in the diet.. In a series of follow-up experiments, supplemental enzymes were studied to alleviate the reduced nutrient digestibility and voluntary feed intake; however, supplemental enzymes proved less effective than expected. In collaborative project, effects of feed processing especially extrusion technology have been studied. In conclusion, wheat-based DDGS can be added to feedstuffs databases for feed formulation for swine.

DOC (8)

On-Farm Feed Milling-Gearing up for compliance in the 21st century

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This lectures discusses the foundations of good management practices in order to comply with the new regulations set out by the CFIA.

Receiving: Describe how each type of commodity is received to minimize unsafe contamination.

Storage & distribution equipment: Bulk bins, warehouse containers and tanks should be properly identified and clean. Conveyors, augers, legs, head distributors, etc. should be free of build-ups. Use of ingredients should preferably be first-in, first-out.

Weighing & mixing: All scales used should be standardized routinely using reference weights and cleaned at least weekly. Calibration should be performed based on a schedule by a qualified contractor.

Maintenance: Prepare a schedule of preventive maintenance, including the feed truck, and a log to attest that this is being performed.

Premises: Describe the keeping of the building, warehouse and grounds. Describe the waste disposal and its operation.

Sanitation & pest control: Prepare a schedule detailing what should be cleaned and when. Complete a log to prove that you are doing it. Draw a sketch where mice traps are located and record trapping rates.

Recalls: Pre-assess the risk to humans and animals and have a notification plan in place.

Training: New staff requires a quick GMPs orientation. Recurring training should be provided involving those that might be called upon when someone is absent or sick.

Manufacturing documentation:

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points
HACCP is a one-time analysis with minor re-evaluation from time to time. In preparing a HACCP plan for your on-farm feed mill, take the following guiding steps:

Identify potential hazards: The first step is to identify potential hazards to humans and animals. These include biological and chemical hazards.

Evaluate each process step: Consider potential hazards that exist or may develop at each step in the manufacturing process. Establish critical control points, where the loss of control may evolve into a health risk.

Targets & tolerances: Set target levels for drug residue, micro organisms and other contaminants.

Monitoring: Screen suppliers, set delivery specifications, ask for certifications, emphasize that you are producing food not just raising hogs! How often should we test mixed feeds and how to interpret the lab results?

Corrective actions: If you sporadically lose control, plan how would you deal with non-complying product. Document the cause of the problem and what you did about it.

Verifying: Evaluate your plan from time to time and if changes have occurred, improve procedures. Invite outsiders to criticize your HACCP plan and catch the obvious that you missed. Have them over several times before you request a CFIA inspector(s) pursuing licensing

On-Farm Feed Milling-Gearing up for compliance in the 21st century

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