Hog Management in 2019: Recapping Advice from The Maschhoffs

( National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff )

From feed conversion to ventilation to new technology, great strides are being made in hog production. Here’s a recap of advice from The Maschhoffs.

1. Maschhoff Memo: A Tech Revolution is Taking Place Behind Those Doors

When it comes to barn technology advancements, one of the areas progressing most rapidly is information technology.

From the outside, many recently-built hog barns closely resemble the structures that our parents or grandparents used for raising pigs. However, inside, a revolution is occurring in the form of web-connectable control systems. Just as you can monitor and manage your grain dryer’s settings, you can do the same thing with a hog barn’s web-connectable control system. Read more.

2. Maschhoff Memo: Five Tips for Ventilation Success

Ventilation needs change with the season – from balancing heat retention with air quality and moisture removal in the winter to exhausting excessive heat buildup in the summer. Regardless of the season, our goal is to minimize environmental stress and provide a ventilation system that will remove airborne contaminants, provide a consistent source of fresh air and manage effective environmental temperature for the animals. Modern ventilation systems provide increasingly effective control of individual ventilation components. But it’s equally important to make sure caregivers are providing effective tactical implementation of this technology. Read on for five tips.

3. Feed Conversion: An Objective Measure of Success

Pork production is an act of nobility, passion and care; and, it is intended to generate profits for the producer. Profit, or revenue less cost, is an optimization – how much more product can you generate with fewer inputs before reaching the point of diminished return? In pork production, nutrition inputs account for nearly 70% of this equation. Because of this, the measure of FCR (feed conversion ratio) is important to any producer. Read more.

4. Maschhoff Memo: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Handling and movement of pigs is arguably one of the most common and important daily responsibilities that pork producers have. Improper animal handling can result in decreased animal well-being, reduced production performance, increased human safety risks and the potential loss of customer and consumer trust. 

To ensure pigs are handled properly each day, it is critical for producers to have effective training programs. Here are a few things to think when implementing a program within your operation. Read more.

5. Genetic Selections Indexes: Is Equal Value Created?

Those with significant exposure to genetic indexes understand you are not able to directly compare indexes across product lines, within or between genetic suppliers. Often the traits included in the indexes are different and even if they are the same, the economic weightings likely differ. This is especially true for terminal lines, where there are varying levels of focus on commercially derived crossbred traits. The question we continue to seek to understand is: How much value is created between and within a given index? Read more.           

6. Maschhoff Memo: The Art and Science of Managing Weaned Pigs

No one says managing weaned pig startups is an easy task. A newly weaned pig is dealing with its share of challenges: maternal separation, transportation, commingling, transitioning from a liquid to solid diet, vaccination and environmental changes.

This all happens as the pig’s immune system transitions from relying on its mother to developing its own active immunity. Maintaining a healthy, well acclimated sow herd is of utmost importance to get weaned pigs off to the right star. Beyond that, there is balance to the art and science of managing weaned pig startups. Read more.

7. Reproductive Technology Does More Than Save Time on Pig Farms

The primary reason for utilizing reproductive technologies is often the dissemination of superior genetics. Many could argue, depending on the technology, that there is also a labor and time efficiency benefit. While this is likely true, quantifying the value of the efficiency gained is hard to do and usually doesn’t compare with the increase in pig value. 

Through internal research trials at The Maschhoffs, we know the range in value among sire lines and even individual boars within a line, is upwards of $8 per pig harvested. With this large of a bogey, it is prudent to evaluate reproductive technologies in order to increase the use of our best boars. Read more.

8. Pork Industry: Time to Focus on Innovation and Stability

The same factors that created concern in 2019 will remain in 2020.

The U.S. pork industry continues to increase supply year over year. The robust supply is coupled with market access challenges. In the largest pork-producing country on the globe, African swine fever continues to expand. Amidst it all, alternative proteins had a banner year with the mainstream launch of several fast-food products. Read more.