My last blog emphasized the strain on pork production downstream due to the increase in live born and weaning averages our industry has amassed the past 10 years. Feed conversion costs are no where near what they were just a year ago. With current stocking densities, do we really know how well these pigs will perform?

I thought a little straightforward math might help emphasize my point:

  • A standard 1000-head finish barn with 8 sq. ft./pig = 8000 total sq. ft.
  • 260 lb. average market weight, from the late 1990s early 2000s = 260,000 lbs. pork
  • 8000/260,000 = 0.03069 sq. ft./lbs. market pork
  • 290,000 lbs. of pork from today’s marketings from same barn = 8,923 sq. ft. needed to supply the 8 sq. ft. requirement. (One could always add on the end of the barn – we added farrowing rooms to many units to accompany the longer lactation time rather than cutting back the size of the sow herd,)
  • 260,000 lbs. pork /a standard 290-lb. market hog = 896 pigs for the same finish barn we started with.

All my PhD friends have preached to me that trials need to be repeated at least seven times to have reliable data. Surely our systems today have this capability to bring more light into maximizing profit per pig space. Pounds per space is the key, NOT pigs per space.

The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Paul Meers Swine Consulting LLC
Phone: 605-261-3027