Determining whether to sort pigs or just dump the whole barn is becoming a big question for many producers, says Mike Brumm, University of Nebraska Extension swine specialist.
To decide what’s best for you, he says you need to weigh the labor costs of sorting versus the sort loss that your packer will impose.
Your packer matrix is probably the most important determining factor in deciding whether dumping barns is a viable option for you.
Brumm has a spreadsheet to help calculate which matrices will lend themselves to dumping pig groups and which ones reward sorting.
Brumm says absolutely never dump to Hormel. Too many hogs will miss the “red box” window Hormel uses, and the discounts or simply missing out on premiums is too high a price there.
When marketing hogs to Tyson/-IBP, for example, you should target your carcass weight to 205 pounds. Under that scenario, dumping may work sometimes.
Brumm says other packers were too variable to make a call, but it might be worth having a discussion with your packer on the subject.