Archive for the ‘Production’ Category

The current heat and humidity levels are forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. In these conditions it is inevitable that pigs will be exposed to heat stress conditions, and thus It is important to ensure you are providing ways for your pigs to cope. The following figure shows when heat stress occurs in grow finish pigs relative to both temperature and humidity levels.

A chart showing at what temperature and humidity levels grow-finish pigs experience heat stress

OMAFRA Swine Specialists developed a factsheet detailing how heat stress occurs, signs your pigs are experiencing heat stress and strategies to cope with it. OMAFRA Factsheet 17-039 “Avoiding Production Losses in Swine Due to Heat Stress” can be found by visiting the Ontario.ca/publications website or by clicking here. It is also attached to this blog post in PDF format for your convenience.

OMAFRA Factsheet 17-039 – Heat Stress in Swine


It is also important to ensure that staff working in barns during these hot and humid days are able to take plenty of breaks and stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water!

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The annual update to Publication 60 is now available on the OMAFRA website. These crop budgets are a tool for estimating expenses. Sample costs provide a guide to illustrate a method of preparing your projections.

To project your break-even price after total costs, enter your farm figures in the spaces provided. The resulting estimate will help you choose your crop mix and set target prices and marketing strategies for your farm.

cover image of publication 60


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piglet lying down

Whether you already have pigs or are looking to get started, this course will teach the basics of housing, management, nutrition and health for your small scale pig herd. Get the information you need to meet requirements for PigTrace (Canada’s national hog traceability program), the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs and biosecurity. Register today.

When: Tuesday March 10, 2020
Time: 7 pm to 9:30 pm
Cost: $15

Pre-Register by March 5th at Email Grey Agricultural Services or by phone at 519-986-3756. Course Location:  Grey county Agricultural Services Centre, 206 Toronto Street South, Unit 3, Markdale.


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SWOPC Logo - blue silhouette of pig

South Western Ontario Pork Conference

Wednesday February 19, 2020
University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus

Longest running educational Pork Conference in Canada

The Pork Conference is designed to be responsive to the grassroots pork industry and its producers. Practical information is presented for producers to manage their farming operations for profitability.

2020 Program

“Looking Ahead with 2020 Vision”

Feature Speaker – Dan Bussieres


12:30 – 2:00 p.m. – Open House – Visit the on-campus Swine Barn

2:00 p.m. – Registration – NEW Location – Willson Hall Basement

2:00 p.m. – Meet & Greet Sponsors at Industry Trade Show – NEW Location – Willson Hall Basement

4:00 p.m. – Conference Welcome – Agronomy Ag Theatre

4:15 p.m. – Hiram Thompson – Nursery Management

5:00 p.m. – Tara Terpstra – Producer Profile

5:45 p.m. – Ryan Tenbergen – Local Health Update

6:15 p.m. – Dinner – Willson Hall Dining Room

7:30 p.m. – Dan Bussieres – Optimizing Feeding & Management Strategies

8:30 p.m. – Wrap-up & Evening Reception


Innovation Contest

Submit your time and money-saving innovations you have developed for your barn. Click here for more details and deadline dates for submission. Prizes to be won!

Campus Swine Barn

12:30 – 2:00 p.m. – Visit the on-campus Swine Barn – Information at the Registration Desk – Willson Hall Basement

Industry Trade Show

2:00 – 4:00 p.m. – Willson Hall Basement

Join Colleagues and Sponsors for light refreshments in the trade show area

Evening Reception

8:30 – 9:30 p.m. – Willson Hall


Pre-register until February 12, 2020

Regular fee: $25

Student fee: $10

After February 12, 2020

Late registration fee: $40

You can register online by visiting https://bdc.ridgetownc.com/useservices/conferencemanagement/south-western-ontario-pork-conference/ or by calling 1-866-222-9682

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The London Swine Conference YouTube channel has some great content, and more is being added. The latest is Dr. Chantal Farmer, AAFC, speaking at the 2019 conference on ‘Maximizing Performance of the Sow’. Click here to watch: https://youtu.be/mUFZeCJmN18

The program for the 20th annual LSC, March 31-April 1 2020 will be coming soon. It will be a great conference so mark those dates in your calendar now. Click www.londonswineconference.ca for all the info you need.

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In December, 2018 OMAFRA, Ontario Pork, Ontario Pork Industry Council, and The Prairie Swine Centre, with support from industry, held a London Swine Conference special seminar in Stratford, ON. Its objective was to help pork producers address challenges of sow management, in particular challenges related to group housing.

Videos of presentations are available on the London Swine Conference YouTube site (click here). Read more information about the seminar and our sponsors by following this link to the LSC website: www.londonswineconference.ca/index.php/gshms.

Following are the presentations on the program. Click on the titles below to watch the videos. 

Best Mixing Practices in Group Housing

Health Management in Groups

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Comparing Livestock Productivity Since 1993

A study using the ratio of livestock production to the breeding herd, or “foundation herd” illustrates that (quote) “Productivity of hog production stands out. It was 68% higher in 2014-2018 than in 1993-1997…”.

Reference (click the title to go to the full article):
Comparing Livestock Productivity Since 1993 • farmdoc daily Zulauf, C. “Comparing Livestock Productivity Since 1993.” farmdoc daily (9):96, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May 24, 2019.

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Knowing your costs and where your money goes is key to improving your bottom line. The OMAFRA monthly  Swine Budget provides a guide and format to estimate the cost of production for a swine enterprise. Accurate and up to date information is essential to determine an individual farm cost of production and to make management, financial, and marketing decisions.  Check out how your compare.

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course splash screens (2)Are you looking for a convenient option for gaining skills and knowledge in the areas of food safety, traceability and farm business practices?

A series of free online courses is now available for producers, processors and agri-food businesses. These courses will provide foundational information to help you:

  • Reduce risks to your businesses and customers
  • Improve efficiencies
  • Learn more about industry best practices
  • Develop a more competitive edge and access new markets
  • Grow your business

Available courses:

  • Producer: Food Safety Foundations
  • Producer: Worker Practices
  • Producer: Water Use
  • Processor: Food Safety Foundations
  • Processor: Recall
  • Processor: Personnel
  • Processor: Sanitation
  • The Basics of Traceability
  • Producer: Maximizing Your Traceability Investment
  • Processor: Profiting From Traceability
  • Producer: Growing Your Farm Profits

Producers and processors have found the following benefits when taking these online courses:

  • The convenience of doing it on their own time and schedule
  • Interactive exercises, helpful templates and relevant examples
  • Ability to print or refer back to the content again later

How Do I Get Started?

Register for your FREE account today at agandfoodeducation.ca. Then simply log in and begin learning — wherever and whenever it is convenient for you. Accessible versions of the courses are available. For more information, contact the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus at rcagfood@uoguelph.ca or 519-674-1500 ext. 63295.

This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.



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dry pond and ban

flooded corn field

In 2016, many areas of the province saw very warm and dry conditions, and many wells were still dry leading into the winter. In other years, like the start to the 2017 growing season, the province experienced periods of excessive rain, leading to saturated soils and flooding. Both situations create many challenges for livestock and poultry farmers.

No one can control the weather, but we can plan for it. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) encourages you to plan for future weather – conserving water and using it efficiently can help during low water conditions, and having effective drainage systems in place can help with saturated soil and runoff.

Things to consider for low water conditions:

  • Plan ahead: Know how much water your animals need and try to predict how long it would take for your water sources to run dry. Have a contingency plan ready that you can carry out in case your water sources have maxed out. Use the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association’s Emergency Plan low water worksheet to help you with the contingency plan.
  • Include a list of alternative water sources in your contingency plan. This can include water haulers and well drillers. Keep in mind that these sources may be unavailable at the height of low water conditions, so you’ll need to plan ahead.
  • Think about installing water-metering equipment to get accurate measurements of water use.
  • Apply for a Permit to Take Water through the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (special rules and circumstances apply).
  • Monitor heat stress in your livestock and have management solutions on-hand when heat stress runs high, but water levels run low.
  • Look at your feed inventory now. If stocks are low for this time of year, consider looking for additional or alternative feed for fall and winter. It’s not too early!

Things to consider for excessive water conditions:

  • Look at your feed supply, as excessive rain can affect planting and harvesting times.
  • Make sure you have enough straw or other bedding materials.
  • Examine your property, your buildings and hard surfaces (like loading areas and parking lots) for flood risk areas. Install eavestroughs to redirect water away from your buildings and create a drainage plan. Plan the steps you’ll need to take to move livestock, feed and equipment in the event of a flood.
  • Create a plan to manage barnyard/feedlot runoff. Determine if you have enough liquid manure storage capacity to store extra material from wet barnyards, and have a plan ready if you don’t (such as using a neighbour’s storage). Also consider what you’ll do to avoid manure storage overflow from rain and flood water.
  • Have a plan ready in the event that manure spreading is delayed due to rain and your storages are full.
  • Think about your electricity generators – are they adequate for your farm’s needs in case of a power outage?
  • Pre-plan alternate routes to avoid travelling on flooded roads, considering services both into and out of the farm (such as feed trucks).

OMAFRA is working with other provincial ministries, conservation authorities and other partners to develop ways to help you manage water. There are existing resources that can help you, too:

Ontario has business risk management programs in place to help you when factors beyond your control affect your operation. Contact Agricorp for more information about these programs.

Visit OMAFRA’s Adverse Weather, Low Water, Irrigation and Drainage web pages for resources to help you prepare for various weather conditions.

Do you have questions about contingency planning? Contact OMAFRA’s Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca.


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