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Pig Farms for 200 Pigs

By Lyno Sullivan, Carbonic LLC CEO,
Tuesday April 27, 2021

Introducing The Pig Farm Owner

Gayle is a cousin of mine. I visited his family farmstead a few years back as a starting point for my personal enlightenment. The initial marketing strategy for Carbonic Live is to reach out to pig farmers for information, contacts, and potential customers. My ultimate goal for this research is to see who would consider purchasing a $500,000 C2HDPE carbon sequestration product being sold by Carbonic LLC of Woodbury, Minnesota.

“Pig Manure into Plastic”

The simple story taught by Lyno to Carbonic Live students.

Since Carbonic Live needs pig manure, it makes sense to reach out to potential customers whose business is raising and selling pigs. I contacted my cousin Gayle and we had a great conversation about raising pigs. Gayle says costs are up and income is down. “Barely making a living”, he said “I’m gonna go back to raising 6 hogs just for my own needs.”

Introducing the Main Character

As we continued to talk, I guided the conversation toward the business of raising pigs and the management of large amounts of pig manure. I asked him some questions and as he answered, I began to understand what it took to raise 200 pigs for market.

Let The Manure Lay Where Deposited

On my cousin’s farm, the majority of the manure drops on the ground as his pigs generally live outdoors in a fenced in pasture. This makes for a very fertile plot of land and not a big manure management problem. Gayle went on to explain that he kept his pigs out of the barn as much as possible while the piglets are young so they don’t bunch up and suffocate one another. While farrowing (birthing), a sow usually remains in the barn in a small pen. Gayle built heating systems to keep the piglets warm during time spent in the barn early on. The inherent danger for her little ones is when she lays down, and may accidentally lay on a newborn and kill it, or trap one in a corner so it cannot feed. Farmers lose some piglets this way, so to minimize this danger, Gayle kept the sows and piglets in the pasture soon after birth.

Straw Pig Nests

Anticipating my concern for the welfare of pigs sleeping outside on the ground, Gayle explained that he would haul round bales of hay into the pasture for the pigs to eat and bales of straw for pig comfort, where most interesting to me, they would use the straw to build nests. Pigs are natural nest builders. He said the pigs would climb into a nest formed from straw and hay much as a human would if sleeping in a hay bale. Whenever Gayle left a fresh round bale in the pasture, a new nest would be built soon thereafter. Gayle laughed when he explained how the pigs would climb out of a warm and cozy nest all shiny and clean. Pigs are very clean animals. They separate their manure production from their living space. Pigs are also very intelligent and can become protective of their humans, somewhat like dog behavior.

Pregnant Sows

Gestation: the period from when a sow is bred until farrowing, easily remembered as 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days. Farrowing: giving birth to a litter of pigs. Farrowing stall: individual housing where a sow (mother pig) gives birth.

https://www.ilpork.com/

A short lactation length (12-14 days) holds pig health and performance benefits. But sow physiological limitations restrict lactation lengths to about 17 days for consistent breeding and reproduction performance.

https://www.nationalhogfarmer.com/mag/farming_impact_lactation_length

Care of Pigs From Farrowing to Weaning

John C. Rea
Department of Animal Sciences

Excerpted from https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g2500 See Table 1 – Gestation based on 114-day gestation time.

The average gestation period for sows is 114 days. To prepare for farrowing, producers should know when sows are due. They also need a method to identify all sows. The gestation table says gestation is based on a 114-day gestation time) and is great for determining farrowing date, based on the date sows are bred. Once born, the most critical period in the life cycle of a pig is from birth to weaning. On the average, about two pigs per litter are lost during this period. Poor management is the major contributing factor.

Clemson University Table

The following table was used for the 5 tons of fresh manure calculated using a Minnesota standardized herd which is calculated from 3,000 farms in Minnesota of 1,000 pigs each producing manure at a rate of 10 pounds per day.

Back to Gayle’s 200 Pig Farm

Two pigs per litter is about 10% loss of meat sales and manure production. Raising pigs in pastures makes sense for a 200 pig farm containing 1 boar and 12 sows with litters of 15 surviving pigs each. It is good for Gayle that he has no pig manure problem except for the stink of pig manure emanating from the farm.

Some Nice Innovations

Gayle added some interesting innovations to his farm. Gayle used 55 gallon barrels with a doorway for the pig to go in and out and a chute for adding food and straw for a snug bed. He rigged up heat lamps in the barrels and some in the barn for nursing pigs.

Conversation Ends

It was quite interesting to converse with Gayle about pig farming done his way on a 200 pig farm. I learned a lot and dispelled some wrong information. If I can do this a few more times I will have gained valuable information, and some early adopters who will say YES to a $500,000 carbon sequestration solution for turning a stinky pig problem into an income goldmine from pig manure.