Starting a hog business can be very exciting as it promises a lot of opportunities for the owner. But just like any other venture, it’s important to look at all sides of the business and the most major of which is: choosing the right breed for your farm. But how do you know which swine breed to pick? What are the considerations? What things should be factored in? As a hog business owner, the following should be taken into account:
1. Consider your pig farm.
You wouldn’t want to sacrifice the well-being of your pigs. It’s highly essential to also consider the nature of the pig farm waiting for them. Match the kind of farm environment and management system with that of your pigs. Bigger pigs require bigger space and strict biosecurity should be observed. For farrowing, make sure it’s also warm enough because newly born pigs need an ample amount of warmth upon birth.
2. Think of your priorities when buying pigs.
Know that there’s no single breed or cross breed that’s perfect for everyone. It all depends on your individual goals. Decipher what breed will suit you and your farm.
For example, if you want to focus more on farrowing and raising, get the strong, hardy type of pigs like the Duroc. If you’re more into hog raising and getting a high litter number, get a Landrace that can cross well with other breeds.
However, if you want to be more specific about the kind of breed that suits you, consider the following tips:
Pick those that mature fast. Know that the longer it takes for a pig to reach its market weight, the more feeds you need. Therefore the more expenses that you need to shoulder. Another thing to factor in is the pig’s ability to grow and reproduce efficiently, which is a major profitability consideration in any hog raising business. Berkshire is an example of a breed with efficient growth and reproduction. Yorkshire on the other hand, has a good mothering ability and can be used for upgrading local breeds. Meanwhile, Landrace is known for having the highest number of pigs per litter.
If you plan to keep your pigs in a big outdoor area, get a breed that has a good “foraging ability”. These are pigs that can thrive on whatever food nature gives them –- roots, leaves, fallen trees, fish, flowers, insects. When foraging, they feed together as a group and then return to their structured shelter for rest. Aside from producing good meat flavor, foraging pigs also help you reduce your expenses. Berkshire is a good example for this, having a good adaptability to rugged conditions. Similarly, Duroc pigs are known to perform well under such conditions better than any of the white breeds.
For commercial purposes, your hog raising business might actually aim at producing excellent meat flavor. This is most applicable for supplying manufacturers of frozen meat products. Given this, some of the best swine breeds that produce excellent taste are Hampshire for its lean meat and minimal back fat which is ideal for bacon production, Landrace for its good carcass quality which is perfect for meat production, and Duroc which is juicy and has a milder taste.
3. Get your breed from a farm.
It may cost you a bit more, but it will also ensure you that you are getting the better pigs versus those that are sold publicly. If you buy your breed from unknown sources, you won’t be too sure where the pigs came from or how they were grown. Go to a known farmer and discuss exactly what kind of breeding stock you’re looking for. That may save you from unnecessary stress, sooner or later.
The success of choosing the perfect breed for your hog business depends on knowing exactly what your business goals are, and what available resources you have for your farm. So to avoid mistakes, it’s highly important to do a lot of research and planning before diving into it. For more information about hog raising, visit www.unahco.com