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Specialized operation: Minnesota hog farmer raises weanlings to market weight

by 5m Editor
12 January 2007, at 9:49am

MINNESOTA - Hog farming has come a long way in recent years, providing better pork at the butcher’s counter while keeping costs down.

Rick Mickelson, who raises hogs from weanlings to finished (butcher) hogs on his farm south of Dalton, points out the primary reasons for this.

“First, everything is becoming more specialized,” he said. “I used to farrow (breed pigs) and finish, until three years ago.”

He now buys weanling pigs, taking them to finish instead.

“The farrowing end is really labor-intensive,” he said. “When you have 200 pigs to artificially inseminate in a week, with each one requiring the pipettes and boar buddies, which are like heavy saddles that make the sow think a boar is on her, that takes time.”

Also, the cost of semen doses are $5 to $7 each, unless the farm takes and stores its own semen. Sows are normally dosed twice.

At farrowing time, there will be a night-watch in the barn, where up to 80 animals may be delivering at one time. Following that are three weeks of tending the newborns, ensuring they are healthy and able to get to food.

Source: Fergus Falls Daily Journal

5m Editor