Babcock Genetics Inc., a supplier of swine genetics, has released research showing the impact of individual piglet birth weight on profit margin. Individual piglet value was established by tracking mortality to the day it occurred.
"The goal of the unique research study was to determine the relationship between individual birth weight and the diminishing return of small pigs," said Kevin Schleusner, vice president of Babcock Genetics. "The 10-year average profit per pig according to Iowa State University is $4.26 per pig. The study focused on examining ways to increase that average profit per pig."
Individual piglet birth weight was found to have the highest correlation with profit when compared to number of piglets born. Light weight piglets were shown to have a negative effect on profits. "The study proves that light weight piglets recorded higher mortality rates, reduced meat quality, lower average daily gain and lower lean gain," said Chad Bierman, Ph.D, Geneticist, Babcock Genetics. "Piglets born at light weights also showed poorer feed conversion when taken to suitable market weight."
The collaborative research also determined that as litter size increases individual birth weights drop. Larger litters produce more light weight piglets and smaller litters produce higher weight piglets. "As birth weight increases so does the amount of profit per pig," said Dr. Darwin Kohler, DVM, Babcock Genetics. "A litter of 3.6 pound piglets will produce a higher profit margin than a litter of 3.25 pound piglets."
The cost of treatments and inferior muscling in light weight piglets were also included in the study. Other relationships factors in the research were the cost of mortality and yardage associated with producing light weight pigs. A detailed research document will be published in the American Associated of Swine Veterinarians abstracts.