Focusing On Quality in Pork Production

Written by: Justin Ellis

Jun 02
Focusing On Quality in Pork Production

In the near future, pork producers will be looking for ways to recover from the affects that PEDv has had on the industry. Inventories are down from last year, and even though pig producers continue to produce larger litters, the number of pigs reaching market weight has been severely impacted by the disease. In an effort to change this trend, many are focusing on improving piglet quality.

With the goal of getting more piglets per sow, piglet quality is often sacrificed. More often, producers must contend with piglets that have lower birth weights, and as a direct result, require extra care and effort to reach full value in the market. Pushing piglets along quickly can also leave them with lower immune strength and greater susceptibility to health challenges. Lower quality pigs stay in production longer, adding to the cost of producing meat.

“We have to stay focused on producing pigs of higher value if we are to maintain optimum sow productivity,” said Russell Gilliam, U.S. swine business manager for Alltech. “We need to be careful not to produce pigs that require additional feed, care and costs.”

Starting with a quality piglet can make a vast difference in health care costs, additional feed, and the increased cost of extra days before market.

So what can pig producers do?

Data has shown that pigs with enhanced mineral status at birth and weaning as a result of Alltech’s Mineral Management program have reduced pre-wean mortality, higher piglet performance and weaning weight, and increased immune status. The trial work also showed that minerals also improve sow productivity and reduce mating intervals (Pickard and Close, 2010). While inorganic minerals are poorly absorbed, stored and utilized in the animal, organic minerals offer a more natural form of nutrients and can perform even when supplemented at lower levels.

“When efficiency and value matter most, it is good to know that less can equal more, and it can be done the natural way,” Gilliam said. “The application of Alltech’s Mineral Management Program consistently delivers optimal results in swine operations in North America and around the world, while being a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly program.”

You can learn more about Alltech's Mineral Management program at our booth #215 at next week’s World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. Stop by for our “Happy Hour” and enjoy a Kentucky Kölsch® on us from 4 to 5 p.m. on June 4 and 5, 2014.

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