Grant Walling is a geneticist with over 18 years’ experience of the pork supply industry and is the Head of the Topigs Norsvin Meat Group who work on ensuring genetic potential is realized right the way through to the consumer.
Tips for maximizing the value of your slaughter pigs:
- Read and analyze your contract with the packer. Ensure you understand the optimal weight to sell and where the largest penalties are for failing to meet requirements.
- Weigh your pigs. Producers often focus on reducing overweight animals, but underweight animals represent lost economic potential. Weighing animals prevents animals from being sold that would make much more profit if kept longer. If weighing is difficult on-site, think about installing a platform scale on the floor to make it easier. Despite what some staff may tell you, it is impossible to weigh animals by looking at them!
- Don’t be tempted to fill the slaughter wagon if the pigs won’t reach full market value. Producers often feel compelled to ensure wagons and trailers are full, but if that is achieved by filling with 20% of the animals under optimal weight, the lost potential can be far greater than the saving on transport costs.
- Devote time to analyzing the slaughter returns and trace these back to buildings, feeding strategies, genetics, and management practices to determine which combinations provide the best value for your contract and your business.
- Review any changes needed in the finishing barns and implement these on a value-based assessment. Providing extra feed spaces or improving ventilation may help more animals achieve optimal slaughter weight, which will deliver good returns on investment in the medium-long term.