Last week, I worked with the contract growers for a smaller production flow in the upper Midwest. A big concern of the growers was the upward trend in sale weights and the impact on their facilities and work-load.
Much has been written in the past few months on the very sharp rise in slaughter weights in the U.S. in response to both a decline in feed ingredient prices and a growing shortage of pigs due to PED virus. We have seen this increase in our research facilities also. As producers lay out research priorities for the coming years one item high on their list is heavier sale weights. What are the housing and nutritional requirements if pens aren’t topped for slaughter until 290 lb?
Lots of impacts of going to heavier weights, not the least of which is transportation. A load of 160 market weight pigs now can have a gross weight of over 50,000 lb which may be a problem depending on the tractor and trailer configuration, axles, etc. Truck compartments that normally hold x number of pigs now only hold x-1 due to the increase in size.