GFM Network News


Farrowing rate — going back to basics and attention to detail

peet on pigs Five key areas of management were found 
to need improvement on farms surveyed

Maximizing farrowing rate requires a focus on the basic aspects of management and close attention to detail, Steinbach, Manitoba-based veterinarian Dr. Blaine Tully told delegates at the recent Red Deer Swine Technology Workshop. He was describing the findings from his work carrying out fertility assessments on swine farms across Canada over the last three years. […] Read more

It pays to optimize feed efficiency in the grow-finish herd

Because feed cost represents the largest proportion of the overall cost of production, efficient use is key to profitability. Feed efficiency is influenced by many factors — including diet formulation, availability of amino acids, the feed manufacturing process, pig health, and barn management, Steve Dritz, from Kansas State University, said at the recent Red Deer […] Read more


People, not systems, the key to successful group sow housing

Peet on pigs: Second of two parts on Danish experience with the transition from sow stalls

People, rather than the system itself, are the key to successful group sow housing, says Danish researcher Lisbeth Ulrich Hansen, who worked closely with Danish producers as they transitioned from sow stalls. Farm data from Denmark and the Netherlands shows that there is very little difference between systems, she says. However, it is important for […] Read more

Dane suggests five essentials for successful group sow housing

peet on pigs Danish producers had from 1999 to 
January 1, 2013 to convert from sow stalls to group housing 


There are five essential components for successful group sow housing, says Lisbeth Ulrich Hansen, chief scientist with the Danish Pig Research Centre, who has been working on group systems for 20 years. Speaking with me during a recent visit to Canada, she said that the key aspects included individual feeding, adequate space allowance, stable groups […] Read more


Know your numbers and be realistic about replacement rate

peet on pigs The rule of thumb that replacing one-third of your sows each year doesn’t hold up when you analyze productivity

There is a popular misconception that replacing about one-third of a sow herd each year is a good target, despite the fact that I rarely see or hear of a herd achieving it. This probably stems back to the dim and distant past when sows were less productive and rather more hardy than today’s high-octane […] Read more

Slow uptake on immunological castration despite economic benefit

An independent study shows significant gains for producers using alternative to conventional castration

Apanel of independent U.S. economists has found producers who use immunological castration (IC) can generate a potential increase of $5.32 per head over conventionally castrated barrows. The benefit is primarily derived from being able to market the treated pigs at a heavier carcass weight, an increase in feed efficiency, and cost saving from not having […] Read more


Work at Prairie Swine Centre benefits pork producers across the country

Research into optimizing barn design and reducing barn emissions 
among the highlights of the centre’s 2012 research report

The Prairie Swine Centre, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, is a resource that benefits pork producers across Canada by carrying out near-market research and providing technical information. In addition to its research, it maintains a comprehensive database of technical references on its web-based Pork Insight, in addition to being the lead communicator for Swine […] Read more

Study finds lameness widespread in sow herds

peet on pigs Almost 60 per cent of sows studied by Prairie Swine Centre researchers showed signs of lameness, and early intervention may be the answer

Lameness in sows is one of the most frequent reasons for culling and a major cause of lost performance, which has both economic and welfare consequences. Prairie Swine Centre researchers Yolande Seddon and Jennifer Brown have been looking at whether early detection and prevention of lameness can improve overall herd health and productivity. The duo […] Read more