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  The Effect of Individual Piglet Birth Weight on Profitability

With the 10 year average profit per pig being only$4.26per pig (according to Iowa State University), Babcock Genetics started to examine ways to increase average profit per pig.  First, we looked at increasing our born alive numbers.  To achieve that, we have introduced our new Breed Select Program to our customers. We have selected lines that best complement each other to maximize genetic improvement.  Producers will see a substantial improvement in number born while maintaining high individual piglet birth weights.

Secondly, we conducted extensive research on the impact of individual piglet birth weight on profit margin.  We collected individual birth weights from over 25,000 pigs at four different stages (birth, wean, move to finish and market). Individual ultrasounds for muscling and the cost of health treatments by birth weight were recorded.  We researched the cost of mortality to the day of death and how much the pig is worth when marketed.  Ultimately, we have a clear picture of how an individual piglet birth weight affects profitability. 

As many of you know, when litter sizes increase individual birth weights drop.  Larger litters produce more light weight piglets and smaller litters produce higher weight piglets. Those light weight piglets recorded higher mortality rates, reduced meat quality, lower average daily gain and lower lean gain.  Piglets born at light weights also showed poorer feed conversion when taken to suitable market weight. Therefore, light weight piglets were shown to have a negative effect on profits. 

As birth weight increases so does the amount of profit per pig. We’ve determined that a litter of 3.6 pound piglets will produce a 50% higher profit margin than a litter of 3.25 pound piglets.  Our goal is to maximize the number of quality pigs marketed. 



For more information please contact us at 608.526.3302.

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