Pig Management 101
Niche Pork is defined as "pork that has certain attributes which are not found in traditional commodity pork, and which some groups of customers prefer or see value in and are willing to pay a premium". Examples include: animal raising claims such as raised without antibiotics, hormones, or by-products, heirloom breeds, or organic. Currently, niche pork represents only 2 to 3% of today's total pork production. However with over 69% of Americans looking to buy local meat, their is potential for niche market pork to grow. To begin your pork production practice it is essential to understand the basics of of the pig life cycle and management practices. For basic information on pig management and pork production basics see the resources below.
Farm Design and Infrastructure
Farm infrastructure provides for the safety and well-being of livestock and aids in managing the lands natural resources. Infrastructure includes ranch housing, fences, corrals, and water systems. For more information on ranching infrastructure click below.
Pasture management is an essential part of grass-fed hog production. Having a pasture management plan can help land managers manipulate vegetation to improve livestock performance without negatively impacting the rangeland ecosystem. Pasture management plans can vary substantially depending on soil type, rainfall, proximity to riparian areas, and the time and labor resources available to the producer. For more on pasture management practices and developing a pasture management plan view the resources below.
The goal of a biosecurity program is to keep out new pathogens and to minimize the impact of endemic pathogens. Risk factors for biosecurity on the farm are unique to that farm. Therefore, each biosecurity plan should be farm specific. For tips on swine biosecurity visit CDFA's wepage
or download the biosecurity fact sheets below.
Herd Health and Reproduction
One of the first steps to develop a heard health program is to develop a working relationship with a veterinarian. To Find a veterinarian in your area visit the Find a Veterinary Directory on the California Veterinary Medical Association web page.
For more on pig health and diseases affecting goats in the California area visit the CDFA Swine health web page and/ or view the resources below.
The main goal of livestock production system is to increase productivity. The most common measure of productivity for the sow herd is pigs weaned per sow per year. Both the number of litters per year and the number of weaned piglets per liter affect the productivity. Many factors affect the number of piglets born alive and the resulting litter size. To learn more about the reproductive practices visit the USDA Extension Hog, Pigs, and Pork webpage
or view the source's below.
For even more on pig reproduction and reproduction management view Penn States Swine Production and Management Home Course.
Niche Market Labels
To improve the marketability of your goat operation you may chose to incorporate a specific label (i.e. raised without antibiotics or USDA Organic) into your production system. To learn more about niche market labels visit the UCANR Niche Market Label webpage. For more information about obtaining a label, view the resources below.