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!

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.”

Emergency Planning: Ready … or Not?

A flood of advice for coping with a crisis

By Geoff Geddes

“Out of sight, out of mind” can be a sound philosophy, until it isn’t. Pork producers may do everything else right, but if they’re unprepared when a crisis hits, it can all go wrong in a heartbeat. That fact is not lost on pork organizations across the country, and is prompting a renewed call for emergency planning and everything that it entails.

Dietary Yeast as an Alternative for Nursery Pigs

As the world moves away from pharmacological zinc oxide, do we have other options?

By Brenda Christensen, Dr. Elijah Kiarie & Dr. Lee-Anne Huber

Weaning is a difficult transition for piglets.

Removal from the sow, mixing with other pigs, changes in diet composition and form, and fading maternal immunity all contribute to reduced feed intake and increased susceptibility to enteric disease. Typically, low feed intake immediately after weaning is the main driver of the post-weaning growth lag.

Honouring their Heritage

Breeders continue to keep the traditions alive

By Colleen Halpenny

In today’s fast paced innovative world, sometimes the slower paced ways can be brushed to the side. However, a growing number of pork producers are making the effort to work with heritage breeds and deliver those old-time flavours to the table.

Better Pork spoke with three business owners to learn what drove them to these unique breeds, how they stand up in Canada’s changing climate, and what they offer to consumers.