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Dietary Manipulation Offers Alternative During Pork Processing Plant Slowdowns
Dr. John Patience - Iowa State University

Farmscape for November 10, 2020

By altering the diet to slow growth, pork producers have an opportunity to help address the challenges posed by unexpected interruptions in pork processing capacity.
Slow downs or interruptions in pork processing caused by such as factors as the impact of COVID-19 on staffing or the identification of a foreign animal disease, have become a top of mind issue for pork producers.
As part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2020, being held virtually with sessions Thursdays at 1:00 Central until December 3, "Managing and Feeding Pigs During Interruptions in Marketing" will be among the topics discussed.
Dr. John Patience, a Professor of Applied Swine Nutrition in the Department of Animal Science with Iowa State University, says, when these slowdowns occur, pork producers have the option of slowing growth rates.

Clip-Dr. John Patience-Iowa State University:
On the farm, which is the focus of my talk, the best option for sure is to try to slow down the growth of pigs and thereby be able to hold those pigs on the farm until they regain the ability to market their animals at the processing plant.
That's not the complete solution necessarily.
It really depends on how long the interruption occurs because sows are still farrowing, little piglets are being weaned and they have to find a home somewhere and, of course, farms can undertake some procedures to accommodate that.
They can double stock little pigs until the older pigs have gone to market but that's a relatively short term solution.
There are, and that's what I'll be talking about, a number of tools that are available to producers that will allow them to reduce feed intake or slow the growth of the pigs and hold them until such time as the processing is able to get re-established or gear up to higher levels.

Dr. Patience suggests the key is to plan ahead for these processing plant slowdowns and be ready to respond quickly.
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Bruce Cochrane.

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