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Pork Checkoff invests in pig survivability research

Source: Wikimedia Commons

America’s farmers and ranchers continually seek ways to improve operations. We discuss  one organization’s plans to improve pork production, below.

The Pork Checkoff animal science research committee looks to address issues with pig survivability. Chris Hostetler, director of animal science for the National Pork Board, says the focus will be on welfare, health and productivity.

“One of the things they decided on was not just research, but also an outreach and training component for undergraduate and graduate veterinarian students that would be working in this field. (They felt this) would be very key in changing the way we raise pigs for pork production,” Hostetler said.

Benchmark figures bring light to pig survivability numbers.

“In our industry productivity analysis, you will see across all phases of pork production, about 35-percent of opportunity pigs don’t ever get to market,” Hostetler said. “They took this as a serious flaw in our business model, how we raise pigs and a serious drain on productivity. (They) want to take it on as one of their areas they can really make some change.”

A five-year study has been funded with the goal of increasing profitability for pork producers by improving survivability of their animals. Hostetler provides more information on the project.

“We had five proposals to take a consortium type approach to addressing this issue,” Hostetler said. “The consortium the committees decided to fund was led by Jason Ross, at Iowa State University, but also involves 16 researchers from Kansas State and Purdue University.”

For more information about the study, producers can call 800-456-PORK or visit pork.org.

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