The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Monitoring System has released “Reference of Management Practices on Small-enterprise Swine Operations, 2012.” The report is the first from its Swine 2012 study and focuses on U.S. swine operations with fewer than 100 pigs on-site.
Thirty-one states participated in the small-enterprise portion of the Swine 2012 study. These states accounted for 82.7% of U.S. swine operations with fewer than 100 pigs and 86.9% of pigs on operations with fewer than 100 pigs. Later reports from the Swine 2012 study will focus on U.S. swine operations with 100 or more pigs.
Here are a few highlights from the “Reference of Management Practices on Small-enterprise Swine Operations, 2012” report:
- Less than 10% of operations that housed breeding animals and weaned pigs together did so in total confinement. When sows and weaned pigs were housed separately, nearly 80% of operations allowed sows and gilts outside access. Most operations used group housing for sows and gilts.
- Most operations with sows (71.4%) had at least one farrowing event from June 1, 2011, to May 31, 2012. Oddly, operations with 50 to 99 pigs had an average of 2.3 more piglets born per litter than operations with 1 to 49 pigs (9.3 and 7.0 piglets, respectively). This production difference is unusual, given the relatively small difference in size between the operations.
- Despite porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) being widely dispersed throughout the swine industry, no operations with 50 to 99 pigs reported a known or suspected problem with the disease in sows, gilts, or weaned pigs from June 1, 2011, to May 31, 2012.
- Over half of operations brought pigs on-site from June 1, 2011, to May 31, 2012. Feeder pigs represented nearly 70% of all pigs brought onto operations.
- Over three-fourths of operations permanently moved pigs off the operation. Market-weight slaughter pigs represented nearly 50% of all pigs permanently moved, and over 50% of these pigs were moved directly to slaughter. Less than 20% of operations removed pigs off the operation and then returned them.
Participation in the Swine 2012 study is voluntary. All data collected from individual producers are kept confidential. Responses are used only in combination with other responses to report regional and national estimates.