My last blog outlined procedures in a large-scale nursery where extensive sorting of newly weaned pigs produced improved gains and overall feed savings. I received several comments from industry professionals with views affirmative to that blog.

Another advantage to sorting pigs by weight and by room is the opportunity to adjust room temperature lower for the bigger pigs. A three to four-degree variance from a “mixed” room with weight variation can be a money saver. No longer do you need to set the temperature to the smallest pigs in the room.

I am presently working with a very large sow system that is selling/shipping weaned pigs. What is fairly unique is that this farm keeps all pigs that weigh less than 10 lbs. and places them in an offsite nursery. Not much sorting is needed here as the pigs have a 3 to 3.5-lb. weight variation. The pigs are fed a dense starter feed appropriate for their age and weight. Unlike a “regular” nursery these pigs get nearly all of their feed allocated for their individual needs. These pigs are consistently gaining 38-40 lbs. in 48 to 50 days (0.80 average daily gain).

One thought I have had in regard to this system is the majority of the smalls most likely come from large gilt litters (knowing the replacement rate in this system is aggressive), so one could surmise these pigs have the most recent genetic improvement.

I also have had the opportunity to work with a few finishers, (1000-head plus), that receive these pigs. Closeouts are competitive to regular weaned pigs:

  • ADG ranges from 1.80-1.90, depending on season
  • F/G ranges from 2.80-2.95
  • Whole-barn slaughter weights consistently average 275 lbs.
  • One group with closeout in early winter averaged 306 lbs.
  • Dead and cull < 4 percent consistently

Feed allocation and sorting to size pays dividends!! $$

The views expressed are those of the author. For more information, contact Paul at: