Swine Herd Management

Efficient swine herd management is important for both reproductive and grow-finish operations. Grow-finish refers to farms that grow and fatten hogs in a certain weight class for slaughter.

Swine Nutrition

Proper swine nutrition will promote healthier hogs and higher-quality pork. Demand for grass-fed pork is increasing, but whatever feed mixture a herd manager chooses should include all essential vitamins and minerals. Farms may work with an animal nutritionist to determine the optimal formulation for their hogs, with maximum nutrient absorption and minimal waste.

Swine Herd Health

Taking precautionary measures to keep swine healthy will not only provide financial and time savings for the farmer, but it will give the swine a higher quality of life. Despite a herd manager’s best efforts, diseases can still affect the hogs. One virus that has caused trouble for swine producers in recent years is porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). The virus that causes this syndrome is airborne and can also travel on surfaces like clothing and equipment. As its name suggests, PRRS causes respiratory problems in young pigs and reproductive failures, seriously affecting sow producers. Biosecurity against PRRS can be improved with upgraded barn air-filtration systems.

Swine Farm Hazards

Swine herd managers should take care to make sure their employees are working in safe conditions. Human hazards on swine farms include manure gas concentration, dust and mold spore inhalation, and others. The first step in preventing incidents is educating all farm workers on existing hazards. All confined spaces, such as barns and storage bins, must be properly ventilated to ensure air quality.

Working with Swine Software

Various software applications are available to help swine herd managers track data on their herd. One example is PigCHAMP, an agribusiness software specifically tailored for reproductive or grow-finish swine enterprises. The mobile-friendly application helps herd managers keep track of feed amounts, pregnancy rates, animal treatments, and more.


Euthanasia is an option for swine herd managers that are dealing with diseased or injured hogs. Producers should come to the decision to euthanize a certain hog in consultation with their veterinarian. Euthanasia is often the most humane choice for a suffering animal, and can be performed by either the veterinarian or the herd manager using one of several methods.

Pork Industry Issues

Major pork industry buyers, as well as consumers, are demanding more humane swine production. Two major areas of concern are swine transportation practices and the use of gestation stalls or crates for pregnant sows.