Swine Raising for Meat Production in the Philippines (Part 1)
Here’s an in-depth look at the world of swine raising and the potential business you can get out of it.
Swine is believed to be the earliest animal to be domesticated, proven by paintings and carvings of pigs that date back to 25,000 years have been found. Swine is one of agriculture’s best sources of income and a very good source of protein.
The Philippine swine industry is dominated by backyard hog farming, which claims 76% of total swine stocks while 24% come from commercial farms. The swine industry contributed to 80% of the total Philippine livestock output in 2004.
Outbreaks in animal disease and the like caused a slight decline in hog production in 2004, producing only 1,722.44 metric tons as compared to 1,733.09 metric tons in 2003. But as swine prices continued to rise, the swine industry’s value continuously increased from Php 74.73 billion in 1999 to 118.70 billion pesos in 2004. Retail prices steadily rose from Php 108.47 in 1999 to Php 135.66 in 2004 and live weight output significantly increased from 65.06 (1999) to 81.62 (2004), indicating increased interest in the improvement of swine farming. Thus giving hog farmers the incentive to increase production and more farmers continue to join the enterprise.
It is however imperative that swine-producers consider significant factors and techniques before venturing into hog farming to maximize profit on production.
Swine breeds in the Philippines
Several imported breeds of meat-type swine are presently available in the Philippine market. It is important to consider farming experience, finance and purpose before choosing the best breed suitable to raise in local conditions.
Berkshires are characterized by their black color and six white points and four white feet. Berkshires are medium sized and are generally smooth. This breed is also longer in proportion in depth compared to other breeds. Berkshires have ears that stand erect and noses that are short.
The Berkshire breed is one of the oldest improved breeds of swine. Berkshires originated in the county of Berkshire in South Central England. This breed has short black skin and is more resilient to disease than white breeds, but may not be as prolific as the other breeds. Berkshires are popular for their meatiness and good adaptability to rugged conditions.
The red hog breed Duroc is a popular breed for its exceptional growth rate as they are able to grow faster on less feed. This Duroc’s rapid growth rate is unsurpassed by any other breed. This breed originated in the 18oos in the Northeastern United States and are characterized by their large size and noted for their hardiness and prolificacy.
Duroc pigs have a good constitution and are resistant to stress, with ears that are 2/3 erect and 1/3 hanging. Duroc sows are also good mothers.
The Duroc breed’s skeletal structure stands up in all kinds of environment, and it also has anatural leanness. These factors contribute to the Duroc’s ability for rapid growth and pro4uct that is agreeable to both packer and consumer. As such, the Duroc will inevitably continue to be a vital element in pork production.
The Hampshire breed originated in Southern England. Hampshires are black with white bands encircling the front of the body, also the front legs and feet. Hampshries are meaty and medium in size. This breed has a smooth appearance, has erect ears and are active and alert animals.
Hampshires are characterized by their short, strong legs and their ability to produce quality meat. Hampshire sows are known for weaning a high percentage of the pigs farrowed. This breed is also known for their ability to adapt to very rugged conditions. Their growth rate are generally average or below.
A variety of Landrace strains originated from the famous Danish Landrace hogs that were developed in Denmark in 1895. The Landrace is characterized by its long body length, short legs, and medium to large drooping ears. Landrace swine is meaty on the foot, especially on the rail. Their hams are plump but trim. Their sides are long and uniform in depth.
Landrace sows are prolific and are known to be excellent mothers and having a good litter size. This breed’s sows have been known for their milk producing abilities, reaching their top milk after five weeks of lactation which is much later when compared to other breeds.
Pietrain originated in Pietrain, a village in Belgium from which this breed is named. Pietrain are medium in size and characterized by its white color with black spots. Pietrains carry their ears erect and are commonly referred to as being of piebald markings. This breed has well shaped hams, loins, and shoulders and is very meaty. Pietrains carry an extremely high proportion of lean to fat. Thus Pietrains are the choice breed for fresh meat processing.
However, this breed has a slow growth and has less satisfactory feed efficiency. Pietrains are also susceptible to stress. Pietrain boars are often bred with Landrace sows, as Pietrain sows lack in mothering abilities and in milk production.
Yorkshires, otherwise known as the Largewhites, are entirely white with medium and erect ears. Yorkshire sows have excellent mothering ability, farrow and wean large litters. Yorkshire sows are also noted for their ability to yield high dressing percentage and produce high quality meat. Yorkshires are preferred for their superior growth capability and economic gains.
The Yorkshire or Large White originated in Yorkshire County, England. Yorkshires are known for their ability to cross with and improve other breeds. They are noted to be an active and lean breed. The Large White’s extra height or length of leg enables them to remain active and have long useful lives in the breeding pen.
Raising swine in the Philippines
Several factors should be considered before venturing into swine raising to ensure a profitable yield. Precautionary steps should also be taken prior to raising swine in the selection of breeder sows, equipment and facilities, nutrition and health management, and technology research.
The first important factor in swine raising is making the appropriate choice of breeder sows and boars for existing conditions as well as financial considerations. Consequently, choosing the best sows for the farm should be guided accordingly.
Selecting the superior sows can be guided by their appearance. The biggest animals in the litter should be selected as breeder animals. Female breeders should be from a litter with high survivability rate. It is prudent to ensure that selected sows do not come from a litter observed with agalactia or failure to secrete milk.
Farm sanitation should also be considered when selecting hardy and vigorous pigs. Pigs-with abnormalities should not be selected as .these may be inherited.
Sows with longer bodies are more desirable as length provides more space for udder development. Sows should have a uniform body width from front to rear. Breeding sows should have a good . development of the ham, loin and shoulder. Feet and legs should be well placed. Medium short feet and short upright pasterns are favorable in selecting the – right sow.
Teats should be well spaced, with a minimum number of 6 per gilt. Gilts with better udder development are more able to have better milking capacity. Sows should be inspected for inverted teats as these do not secrete milk.
Boars four to six months old should be selected for their masculinity in appearance and activity. Boars should have visible and well-developed primary sex organs and whose testicles are of equal size. Selected boars should be able to overcome the defects of the herd. Minor defects may be ignored as long as these defects are not present among the sows.
to be continued…