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!

When Animals get Aggressive

Managing harmful behaviour that can occur in swine production.

by Colleen Halpenny

While aggression is a natural trait in any animal, in swine it can be extremely detrimental, with after-effects like physical damage or changes in an attacked animal’s behaviour.

PRRS Research Update

Exploring Canadian research findings & benchmark goals.

by Kristen Lutz

“As a population that’s interested in animal health, we’ve been trying to solve the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRS) for decades. We’ve had some successes but it’s complicated,” says Zvonimir Poljak, DVM, associate professor with the Ontario Veterinary College.

PRRS has swept through North America since the late 1980s and scientists continue to investigate it, particularly the genetics of the disease.

Where in the world?

Will Canada’s little piggies go to market, or stay home?

By Geoff Geddes

Though rarely flying first class, Canadian pigs and pork products travel the globe. While they don’t earn frequent flyer miles, they do sustain the Canadian pork industry by meeting the needs of various markets for safe, high-quality food.

With a new government in Ottawa, what will their priorities be for pork exports in the years ahead? Perhaps more importantly, what should they be?

Beware of PRRS virus variants

Be prudent with biosecurity protocols to prevent illness from spreading.

By Kristen Lutz

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is a familiar ailment to pork producers. However, a new strain of the virus has filtered itself into barns south of the border, meaning Canadian producers should up their ante when it comes to biosecurity protocols.

Marketing local pork

Producers can capitalize on renewed interest in eating local products by marketing directly to consumers

By Jackie Clark

In many parts of the food system, a large disconnect exists between the person who produces the food and the person who consumes it. However, some farmers are able to sell directly to customers and build a relationship with them.

ASF Vaccine Development

Scientists at secure, high-containment laboratories around the world are continuing to work and share information to develop a vaccine that will protect against the deadly swine virus.

By Jackie Clark

Over the past year and a half, most of the world has been focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the progress toward developing a safe and effective vaccine. However, for those in the pork industry, a parallel effort is underway to find a vaccine to protect against African swine fever (ASF).

The Lowdown on High Tech

Progress Means Profit for Producers

By Geoff Geddes

Somewhere there lives a farmer who isn’t short of time or money...just not in this solar system. In a pork business with rollercoaster pricing and razor thin margins, harnessing technology is critical to saving time and money, two things in short supply for pork farmers. Whether it’s ventilation, feed or labour, the latest advances can aid producers in staying sane, solvent and sustainable.

Scour in piglets

The bad, the worse and the deadly.

By Jackie Clark

Scouring is an unpleasant reality that pork producers around the world face. Diarrhea in piglets can be caused by a variety of pathogens and can lead to consequences for the individual piglet’s growth and productivity, survivability, as well as general herd health.

Better Pork connects with veterinarians and researchers to examine how farmers are preventing and treating scours and current research working to improve and expand those options.

In search of the perfect pig

Genetic advances will get us there.

By Geoff Geddes

While “faster, higher, stronger” is the Olympic motto, it is “leaner, healthier and more efficient” that serves as the gold standard for the pork sector. In a business where margins are thin and progress is essential, the role of genetics to fuel that progress is a critical one. Though genetic technology is complex and fraught with challenges, it holds the key to keeping producers competitive both at home and abroad.

Using rye in swine feed

New hybrid rye lowers risk of ergot in feed rations.

By Michelle Jones

Rye isn’t used a lot in pig rations, mostly because there isn’t a lot of it grown in Canada due to its susceptibility to ergot. While other grains such as wheat and barley are also prone to the disease, ergot seems to affect rye more often, so farmers have been hesitant to grow it or use it as feed because of the risk involved. However, research was still conducted on the nutritional value of rye, even if it wasn’t widely used as feed.