Science Page: Describing the cull sow and cull hog market networks in the US: A pilot project

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

This week, we are sharing a project from Dr. Jim Lowe at the University of Illinois.

Project rationale

“What is the range of locations of sows that enter a slaughter plant?, How many stops along the way do they make? and How long do they remain the slaughter channel?” These are the questions this project is planning to answer.

Key Points:

  • Little is known about the cull market, how culls are transported, and how they play a role in disease spread.
  • While most sows travel directly to slaughter, an important percentage most likely move through multiple collection points.
  • Cull sow movement are important for understanding disease transport related epidemiology.

Premise ID tags were collected during an entire week at a cull harvest plant. Animals originated from 297 unique source farms, located in 21 US states and Canada.

distance from farm to marketResults are shown in the histogram on the left.

The majority of culls (86%) originate less than 240km from the final collection point. This interaction is deemed to be a primary interaction, meaning that it is very likely the culls moved direct from the farm of origin to the final collection point. 14% of the culls travel a distance greater than 240km to the terminal collection point. Of these 14%, 17.7% or 2.5% of all culls, traveled 5 times as far to the last point of collection from the farm than they did from collection point to plant.

Click here to see the entire report on the cull sows and cull hogs market.

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