Pork Insight Articles

 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.

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Author(s): H. Gonyou, J. Brown
Publication Date: April 18, 2012
Reference: Centred on Swine 17-2
Country: Canada


For swine producers, loading pigs at marketing can be one of the most stressful and time-consuming experiences. Problems at loading also affect the welfare of animals and have a significant economic impact as they may cause death losses, carcass damage and meat quality problems. The objective of this project was to identify components of swine loadouts that have the greatest impact on pig stress and loading time.  Ten swine loadouts in Saskatchewan were visited, and the facility design and handling methods at each facility were documented by photographs and video footage.

This study found that there is a large variation in facilities and handling skills across the swine industry, and often little opportunity for producers or barn employees to gain new knowledge. Lighting, flooring, alley and ramp dimensions, and animal handling techniques all have the potential to cause problems when moving pigs through a facility. The best loadouts in Saskatchewan are ones which take these factors into account.  The results highlight the fact that handling of pigs can be improved by a variety of measures, ranging from extensive load-out renovations, to simple changes in lighting and handling techniques.

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