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Don't Lose £s at the Final Stage

2 October 2012, at 12:00am

Tips on nutrition, feeding and management to miminimise variation in finishing pigs.

The effort and resources that go into the finished pig should not be lost at the final stage. Variation among pigs ready for slaughter can significantly affect financial returns.

Producers should look at a minimum of three months worth of abattoir grading information to help understand patterns of variation:

  • overweight pigs
  • underweight pigs
  • out-of-probe-specification pigs
  • percentage of pigs in the ‘optimum box’.

Common reasons for variation include:

Nutrition and Feed Management

  • incorrect diet specification
  • inconsistent diet ingredients for co-product and home mixers
  • inadequate feeding space, depending on system
  • lack of clean, constantly accessible water (water intake ensures good feed intake).


  • poorly-maintained buildings
  • below or above optimum stocking density, which can lead to compromised growth.

Seasonal Effects

Year on year, there is a trend for probe and carcass weights to be lower during the warmer months and increase going into autumn.

Health Status

The better the health, the greater the chance the pig has of achieving its genetic potential.

October 2012

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Mycotoxins in swine feed

Pigs are considered highly susceptible to mycotoxin contamination, with young animals and female breeders being the most sensitive groups. Mycotoxin can cause clinical symptoms or subclinical decreasing animal performance leading to great economic losses.

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