Hog farm hopes bigger gets better
The Journal Gazette
WABASH – The mother hardly grunted as she delivered 12 offspring in rapid succession.
Each newborn weighed between 3 and 4 pounds. The first-born siblings eagerly drank their mother’s milk as she delivered the rest.
The delivery volume represented the routine at Liberty Swine Farms. The Wabash County farm raises 22,000 hogs each year, including females other farms use for breeding stock.
It’s a job fewer hog farms are undertaking as farms specialize in certain life stages. Most farmers buy 3-week-old piglets and raise them until they reach market weight. Breeding and monitoring pregnant hogs requires additional time and labor, said Randy Curless, Liberty Swine Farms’ owner.
Newborn piglets, for instance, know how to eat but need a little help getting clean. Production manager Michelle Workman showed me one key job – drying the piglets’ slick skin. If the newborns aren’t dried properly, their belly buttons can become infected.
The piglets spend the first three weeks of their lives in a 5-foot-by-7-foot pen. Metal bars keep their mother confined to a 2-foot-by-5-foot space inside the pen.
Curless said the pen is designed for the hogs’ safety. The bars force the mother to wriggle between them before she lies down. That slight delay gives her piglets enough time to get out of her way. Otherwise, the sow could crush the piglets. Read More
Getting out and telling the story of your agriculture operation is very important. Because only 2% of us are involved in production agriculture, the other 98% are very interested in what we do. Taking the time to explain food production to the consumers is something that we all need to do. I know it wasn’t on grandpa’s chore list, but it has to be on yours.