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!

Resiliency in Meat Demand

Consumer Demand Stays Strong During Rising Grocery Prices.

By Emily Croft

The cost of living has been increasing and many Canadians are concerned about the rising cost of groceries. Consumers may become more selective to save money, leading to concerns about the impact on meat demand and what it might mean for profits on pork and other livestock farms.

In September 2022, Statistics Canada stated that the yearly price increase for food purchased in stores was the greatest it had been since 1981.

The Impact of Weaning Age on Farrow-to-Finish Production Parameters

By Fiona Tansil, Trouw Nutrition Canada

Weaning age varies from one farm to another. Some might wean at an earlier age depending on the number of sows farrowing each week or due to limitation in the farrowing capacity. On the other hand, some might wean later due to the potential improvement in nursery and grow-finish performance.

This article will discuss the potential impacts of weaning at age 19 and 24 days on growth and production parameters using the cutting-edge Watson model and Scenario software developed by Trouw Nutrition.

Understanding Performance Over Cost

By Victoria Seip Eisses, Grand Valley Fortifiers

As both the hog and commodity markets continue to show great volatility and variability, feed budgeting is extremely important to make sure we are maximizing both the feed cost and performance of our commercial animals.

We continue to see rising feed prices which, in turn, has made us alter what we are feeding in order to maximize on ingredients and efficiency. Efficiency is key because as long as hogs are not backlogged, feed conversion is more important than ever.

Boosting Your Herd

Are your pigs up to potential health challenges?

By Colleen Halpenny

As many producers face problematic labour shortages, much emphasis has been placed on working with pigs which require less labour time.

The highest negative cost is time spent managing illness in the herd, and researchers are working to find new ways to improve swine resiliency.

Dr. Pramod Mathur, senior geneticist and director of research and development for Topigs Norsvin Canada, has seen an increasing focus on vitality in the past few years.

New Monounsaturated Soybean Oil Works Well in Pig Diets

‘Improving the thickness of bellies, without compromising lean percentage’

By Lauren Quinn, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Adding a fat source to the traditional corn-soy swine diet is common practice, but the type of fat can make a difference both for growing pigs and carcass quality. Polyunsaturated fats, the primary type in dried distillers’ grains with solubles (DDGS), can reduce fat quality and complicate processing of pork bellies and bacon.

High Hopes for Hi-Tech

Where the ‘next big thing’ is always king

By Geoff Geddes

Everywhere you turn, technology has been changing our world for the better: desktop computers, smartphones, beer hats. For the pork sector, staying competitive in pork means keeping up with the latest advances. Apart from being interesting and cool, hi-tech takes the heat off producers in an industry that offers two options: keep up or go under.

Where are gilts going?

Data can be used to determine where to look for the causes of animal losses.

By Emily Croft

Herd data is an important tool that can be used by producers to benchmark their herd, determine their strengths, and identify areas for improvement on their farm. Gilt retention is a topic of increasing interest where data can be used for management decisions, maximizing the potential of the females entering the herd. Identification of issues in gilt retention may also be used to examine other underlying problems.

Taking sustainability from concept to calculation

Lowering our carbon footprint

By Drew Woods, M.Sc, NutriOpt Models Manager, Trouw Nutrition

New terms have entered the lexicon of pork production in the past decade, and the newest and arguably most important one is sustainability.

ASF Spreads Destruction, Dismay

Canada working feverishly to keep it out

By Geoff Geddes

While the pork sector has clearly had its fill of African swine fever (ASF), the feeling is far from mutual. As a double-barreled threat that is both deadly and contagious for pigs (yet no threat to humans or food safety), ASF now affects all areas of China, as well as sub-Saharan Africa, Mongolia, Vietnam, and parts of the European Union.

Research, Review, Repeat

When issues arise, science steps up.

By Geoff Geddes

Just as a shark must keep moving to survive, the pork sector must evolve to stay afloat. In a business where the waters are often choppy, cutting-edge research plays a huge role. Whether it’s feed efficiency, genetics or animal welfare, producers and scientists are always seeking improvement in traditional areas of production while keeping one eye on emerging issues and the “next big thing.”