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:

Author(s): Dr. Harold Gonyou
Publication Date: January 1, 2004
Reference: Proceedings of the 2004 Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium
Country: Canada


Up until just before market, the grow-finish pigs require little management. Just before market is when the weighing, sorting, and loading takes place. Methods of sorting include weighing and eyeballing, which is weighing a pig at target weight and selecting other markets based on a comparison. There is weighing and sorting later, where they weigh and mark pigs that are ready for market and will be ready by next shipping day. Combined weighing and sort involves weighing a group of pigs and separating them into groups of markets and non-markets. This is great for hitting the core of the grid. Large group auto sort is great for large groups. Large finisher groups are widely used due to low capital costs. The downfall of large groups is the increase in labour demand, especially in sorting! Because of this, the large group auto sorting is becoming popular to allow for ongoing sorting as the pigs reach market weight. Two methods are available to train pigs to use the auto sort feeder. The first method involves access to the “food court” only through the sorter (they must be gently crowded toward the sorter in order to adapt to it without being freaked out). The second method is to have numerous access points to the food court and then gradually close them off until they can only use the sorter. This lets the pigs train themselves without the stress of people. About one half of the percentage of pigs marketed are “fatigued”. These pigs were healthy on the farm but the stress has caused them to go down from fatigue. Research conducted has studied different ways of stressful pig handling and what it does to the pigs. This allowed them to identify warning signs of a fatiguing pig. Signs leading to the development of this is being caught in a passageway, not finding the exit from the turning pen, freezing in a corner, and increasing levels of confusion. Producers should review their handling procedures and decide if stress can be lowered at any point during load out. This can be done by consulting with workers, consultants, and identifying particularly stressful points to see if the stress at that point can be reduced.

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