Better Pork Featured Articles

Better Pork is published bimonthly. After each edition is published, we share two feature articles online. Each magazine includes much more content. If you enjoy reading the Better Pork articles below, be sure to subscribe to the magazine!

Water’s essential role in pig performance

Producers should test their water sources regularly, ensure adequate water flow, and consider water treatment options to support herd performance.

by Kate Ayers

To help optimize production, pig farmers focus on the details.

Producers manage controllable factors to the best of their abilities and provide excellent care for their animals. Producers maintain comfortable stocking densities, supply their herds with expert-formulated diets and even provide enrichment materials.

Small-lot pork production: successes and risks

As more small-lot producers contribute to the amount of pork raised in Canada, a lack of biosecurity awareness threatens the broader industry.

by Jackie Clark

At first glance, commercial pork producers might not easily identify the similarities between their operations and the farms of non-commercial or small-lot producers.

Advance your benchmarking to the next level

Producers can increase operational resiliency by identifying key performance indicators and tracking improvements over time.

By Kate Ayers

Although benchmarking is a familiar concept in pork production, we still have significant opportunities to maximize the benefits of this data collection and analysis strategy, some industry experts say.

Producers can further optimize their operations by digging deeper into their data and using all information to its full potential.

Plan to dial in your feed programs

Pig farmers can adjust their feeding strategies to save money during short-term market disturbances, and to support long-term profitability.

by Jackie Clark

Hog farmers have persevered through uncertain and difficult times in the industry. Economic downturns, volatile markets and increasing input prices can shift the cost of producing pigs close to, or even higher than, their market value.

Boost your gilt development program

The application of strong management strategies beginning at farrowing can help build a solid foundation for your herd.

by Kate Ayers

As stakeholders throughout the swine industry continue their quest to optimize production and balance sheets, farmers should closely examine their gilt development programs.

How scientists use pigs to save lives

Better Pork explores some of the ways that pigs have contributed to biomedical research, and how scientists’ use of these animals may support new medical advances.

by Jackie Clark

In the spring, a team of researchers – including University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign scientists and industry partners – approached a professor in the university’s animal sciences department to collaborate on a project intended to help address the COVID-19 crisis.

How to reduce seasonal effects on sows’ fertility

As summer’s hot temperatures approach, farmers should enact preventive measures to maintain sow performance.

by Kate Ayers

Many people happily welcome the summer sun and heat because they think of time spent outdoors swimming, playing and lounging. While farmers also embrace the sun and heat to support field crop and forage development, the summer also brings some livestock management challenges. For hog farmers, seasonal infertility can be a costly consequence of higher temperatures outside and inside barns.

The logistics and ethics of swine research

Scientists work closely with pork producers, truck drivers and processing plant staff to identify research priorities and fill knowledge gaps.

by Jackie Clark

Swine producers across Canada do the hard, daily work of raising pigs. Farmers care for sows throughout gestation and farrowing, monitor the health of piglets, and feed hogs until they are ready to ship to market.

The quest for a ‘made-in-Canada’ price

Pork producers are lobbying for a fair pricing model that reflects the quality of their products.

by Kate Ayers

When an automobile manufacturer dedicates extra time and effort to ensure its vehicles are safe and of high quality, customers are often willing to pay a little more for this attention to detail. Shouldn’t a similar premium pricing model apply to the Canadian pork production marketplace?

Strep zoo: a new threat for the swine industry

Researchers have identified a new strain of Strep zoo as the cause of sudden sow mortalities in Canada and the United States, but many questions remain unanswered.

by Jackie Clark

A pathogen that is familiar in the horse world now seems to have entered swine herds in North America, with deadly consequences. The bacterial strain is called Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus, or Strep zoo for short.