Caring for Hogs
Believe it or not, producing balanced diets for swine is a big job! A variety of feed ingredients are used in proper proportions to produce the perfect diet for pigs at each stage of their lives. Corn, barley, milo (grain sorghum), oats and sometimes wheat are used to provide the optimal levels of dietary energy in the form of carbohydrates and fat. Oilseed meals, largely consisting of soybean meal, are the major source of protein – the building block of muscle and other organs. Vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and phosphorous, make up the remainder of a hog’s diet.
A hog farmer will monitor his herd regularly to ensure health and contentment. Enclosed houses require steady cleaning to prevent disease.
Environmental conditions play a vital role in the health of swine, and monitoring these conditions is a primary effort of hog farmers. Producers are constantly tracking air, water and soil quality to prevent disease and ensure the safety of their animals, and also to comply with stringent Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
Recordkeeping also plays a vital role in hog farming. Numerous records are maintained by swine producers, including documentation of daily events such as temperature, feed consumption and birthing accounts.
As with all livestock, producers will provide assistance during births to prevent injury to both the sow and piglets. If a pig becomes injured or sick, the producer will isolate it to provide one-on-one care and often call in a veterinarian for advice.
Pork Quality Assurance PlusProgram
Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) is an on-farm quality assurance program focusing on professionalism, social responsibility and high-quality production practices.
The National Pork Board introduced the Pork Quality Assurance Program in 1989 and launched PQA Plus in June 2007. This certification program is a workable, credible and affordable solution for pork producers to assure food safety and animal care. In addition the program offers assurance to consumers that they are purchasing the highest quality, safest product possible.
PQA Plus consists of 10 Good Production Practices that focus on improved animal and herd health management. The program has been adopted successfully by 10,000 pork producers.
For more information, please visit www.pork.org.