Findings from a survey of finishing-barn management benchmarks with South Dakota pork producers



      Our objective was to conduct an external review of management benchmarks for growing/finishing pig barns.

      Materials and Methods

      An external review of 23 finishing barns in South Dakota was conducted to understand the variability of common production practices among finishing barns in the Midwest, compared, where possible, to management benchmarks. The barn survey included quantitative and qualitative measurements, including pig well-being, pig space, feeder pan coverage score and feeder space, water flow and quality, pig floor space, air temperature variation, feed particle size and lysine concentration, and manure composition.

      Results and Discussion

      Eighty-one percent of barns had <0.74 m2/pig, and 62% of barns had less than 0.7 m2/pig. Thirty percent of feed samples had particle size >650 μm. Lysine concentration in 13 feed samples (59%) were >10% different from expected. Feeder pan coverage scores were approximately 40% coverage. Well (groundwater) water had a greater amount of total dissolved solids in comparison to rural (or municipal) water (P < 0.05) with no other differences between water sources. Water flow rate was above the recommended rate in 79% of barns. Seventy-three percent of barns met or exceeded recommended pig:waterer ratio. Barn temperature varied based on outdoor ambient conditions, set-point temperatures, and mechanical versus natural ventilation systems. Manure nitrogen and phosphate concentrations were 6.87 and 3.08 kg/m3 of liquid manure, respectively.

      Implications and Applications

      Variation exists between Midwest-based finishing barns. Based on this survey, producers need to pay additional attention to feeder adjustment, feed particle size, space per pig, and water flow rate.

      Key words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. AHDB Pork. 2016. Ventilating Pig Buildings. Agric. Hortic. Dev. Board, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, UK.

        • Anil L.
        • Anil S.S.
        • Deen J.
        Effects of allometric space allowance and weight group composition on grower-finisher pigs..
        Can. J. Anim. Sci. 2007; 87: 139-151
      2. AOAC International. 2006. Official Methods of Analysis. 18th ed. AOAC Int., Gaithersburg, MD.

      3. ASABE. 2012. Method of Determining and Expressing Fineness of Feed Materials by Sieving. Am. Soc. Agric. Biol. Eng., St. Joseph, MI.

        • Ball M.E.E.
        • Magowan E.
        • McCracken K.J.
        • Beattie V.E.
        • Bradford R.
        • Thompson A.
        • Gordon F.J.
        An investigation into the effect of dietary particle size and pelleting of diets for finishing pigs..
        Livest. Sci. 2015; 173: 48-54
        • Bergstrom J.R.
        • Nelssen J.L.
        • Tokach M.D.
        • Dritz S.S.
        • Goodband R.D.
        • Derouchey J.M.
        Effects of two feeder designs and adjustment strategies on the growth performance and carcass characteristics of growing-finishing pigs..
        J. Anim. Sci. 2012; 90: 4555-4566
      4. Brumm, M. 2012. Impact of heavy market weights on facility and equipment needs. Pages 165–168 in Allen D. Leman Swine Conf. Univ. Minnesota, St. Paul, MN.

      5. Brumm, M. C. 2010. Water recommendations and systems for swine in National Swine Nutrition Guide. US Pork Center of Excellence, Ames, IA.

        • Carpenter C.B.
        • Holder C.J.
        • Wu F.
        • Woodworth J.C.
        • DeRouchey J.M.
        • Tokach M.D.
        • Goodband R.D.
        • Dritz S.S.
        Effects of increasing space allowance by removing a pig or gate adjustment on finishing pig growth performance..
        J. Anim. Sci. 2018; 96: 2659-2664
        • Cromwell G.L.
        • Cline T.R.
        • Crenshaw J.D.
        • Crenshaw T.D.
        • Easter R.A.
        • Ewan R.C.
        • Hamilton C.R.
        • Hill G.M.
        • Lewis A.J.
        • Mahan D.C.
        • Nelssen J.L.
        • Pettigrew J.E.
        • Veum T.L.
        • Yen J.T.
        Variability among sources and laboratories in analyses of wheat middlings. NCR-42 Committee on Swine Nutrition..
        J. Anim. Sci. 2000; 78: 2652-2658
        • da Fonseca de Oliveira A.C.
        • Vanelli K.
        • Sotomaior C.S.
        • Weber S.H.
        • Costa L.B.
        Impacts on performance of growing-finishing pigs under heat stress conditions: A meta-analysis..
        Vet. Res. Commun. 2019; 43: 37-43
        • Edmonds M.S.
        • Arentson B.E.
        • Mente G.A.
        Effect of protein levels and space allocations on performance of growing-finishing pigs..
        J. Anim. Sci. 1998; 76: 814-821
        • Flohr J.R.
        • Tokach M.D.
        • DeRouchey J.M.
        • Woodworth J.C.
        • Goodband R.D.
        • Dritz S.S.
        Evaluating the removal of pigs from a group and susequent floor space allowance on the growth performance of heavy-weight finishing pigs..
        J. Anim. Sci. 2016; 94: 4388-4400
        • Gebhardt J.T.
        • Paulk C.B.
        • Tokach M.D.
        • DeRouchey J.M.
        • Goodband R.D.
        • Woodworth J.C.
        • De Jong J.A.
        • Coble K.F.
        • Stark C.R.
        • Jones C.K.
        • Dritz S.S.
        Effect of roller mill configuration on growth performance of nursery and finishing pigs and milling characteristics..
        J. Anim. Sci. 2018; 96: 2278-2292
      6. Goodband, R. D., M. D. Tokach, and J. L. Nelssen. 1995. Effects of Diet Particle Size on Animal Performance. Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, KS.

        • Groesbeck C.N.
        • Goodband R.D.
        • Tokach M.D.
        • Nelssen J.L.
        • Dritz S.S.
        • Derouchey J.M.
        Particle size, mill type, and added fat influence angle of repose of ground corn..
        Prof. Anim. Sci. 2006; 22: 120-125
        • Healy B.
        • Hancock J.
        • Kennedy G.
        • Bramel-Cox P.
        • Behnke K.
        • Hines R.
        Optimum particle size of corn and hard and soft sorghum for nursery pigs..
        J. Anim. Sci. 1994; 72: 2227-2236
      7. Heiman, M., and R. Champion. 2005. Particle size reduction. Pages 108–126 in Feed Manufacturing Technology. E. K. Schofield, ed. Am. Feed Industry Assoc. Inc., Arlington, VA.

        • Hyun Y.
        • Ellis M.
        • Johnson R.W.
        Effects of feeder type, space allowance, and mixing on the growth performance and feed intake pattern of growing pigs..
        J. Anim. Sci. 1998; 76: 2771-2778
        • Jones C.K.
        • DeRouchey J.M.
        • Nelssen J.L.
        • Tokach M.D.
        • Dritz S.S.
        • Goodband R.D.
        Effects of fermented soybean meal and specialty animal protein sources on nursery pig performance..
        J. Anim. Sci. 2010; 88: 1725-1732
      8. Kansas State University. 2019. Feed processing factsheet under Grow-Finish Nutrition tab. Page 1 in Swine Nutrition Guide. Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, KS.

        • Koketsu Y.
        • Sasaki Y.
        • Ichikawa H.
        • Kaneko M.
        Benchmarking in animal agriculture: concepts and applications..
        J. Vet. Epidemiol. 2010; 14: 105-117
        • Li Y.Z.
        • Chénard L.
        • Lemay S.P.
        • Gonyou H.W.
        Water intake and wastage at nipple drinkers by growing-finishing pigs..
        J. Anim. Sci. 2005; 83: 1413-1422
        • Li Y.Z.
        • McDonald K.A.
        • Gonyou H.W.
        Determining feeder space allowance across feed forms and water availability in the feeder for growing-finishing pigs..
        J. Swine Health Prod. 2017; 25: 174-182
      9. Lorimor, J. C., W. Powers, and A. Sutton. 2004. Manure Characteristics. Pages 1–32. Midwest Plan Service, Ames, IA.

        • Mavromichalis I.
        • Hancock J.
        • Senne B.
        • Gugle T.
        • Kennedy G.
        • Hines R.
        • Wyatt C.
        Enzyme supplementation and particle size of wheat in diets for nursery and finishing pigs..
        J. Anim. Sci. 2000; 78: 3086-3095
      10. Menegat, M. B., R. D. Goodband, J. M. DeRouchey, M. D. Tokach, J. C. Woodworth, and S. S. Dritz. 2019. Water in swine nutrition. Pages 1–3 in Kansas State University Swine Nutrition Guide. Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, KS.

        • Myers A.J.
        • Goodband R.D.
        • Tokach M.D.
        • Dritz S.S.
        • DeRouchey J.M.
        • Nelssen J.L.
        The effects of feeder adjustment and trough space on growth performance of finishing pigs..
        J. Anim. Sci. 2012; 90: 4576-4582
      11. NASEM. 2012. Nutrient Requirements of Swine. 11th ed. Natl. Acad. Press., Washington, DC.

      12. National Pork Board. 2018. Swine Care Handbook. Pork Checkoff, Des Moines, IA. Accessed Mar. 23, 2020.

      13. National Pork Board. 2019. PQAPLUS Education Handbook 4.0. Pork Checkoff, Des Moines, IA. Accessed Mar. 23, 2020.

        • Nemechek J.E.
        • Tokach M.D.
        • Dritz S.S.
        • Fruge E.D.
        • Hansen E.L.
        • Goodband R.D.
        • DeRouchey J.M.
        • Woodworth J.C.
        Effects of diet form and feeder adjustment on growth performance of nursery and finishing pigs..
        J. Anim. Sci. 2015; 93: 4172-4180
        • Nienaber J.A.
        • Hahn G.L.
        Effects of water flow restriction and environmental factors on performance of nursery-age pigs..
        J. Anim. Sci. 1984; 59: 1423-1429
      14. Nyachoti, M., and E. Kiarie. 2010. Water in swine production: A review of its significance and conservation strategies. Pages 217–234 in Manitoba Swine Seminar. Manitoba, AB, Canada. Manitoba Pork Counc.

        • Patience J.
        • Rossoni-Serão M.
        • Gutiérrez N.
        A review of feed efficiency in swine: biology and application..
        J. Anim. Sci. Biotechnol. 2015; 6: 33
      15. PIC. 2014. Wean to finish manual. PIC North Am., Hendersonville, TN.

        • Regan K.B.
        • Andersen D.S.
        What is it worth? The economic value of manure testing..
        Trans. ASABE. 2014; 57: 1845-1852
        • Rhim S.
        Effects of group size on agonistic behaviors of commercially housed growing pigs..
        Revista Colombiana de Ciencias Pecuarias (Colombian J. Anim. Sci., RCCP). 2012; 25: 353-359
      16. Richert, B. T., and J. M. DeRouchey. 2010. Swine feed processing and manufacturing. Pages 245–251 in National Swine Nutrition Guide. US Pork Center of Excellence, Ames, IA.

        • Sharda D.P.
        • Mahan D.C.
        • Wilson R.F.
        Limiting amino acids in low-protein corn-soybean meal diets for growing-finishing swine..
        J. Anim. Sci. 1976; 42: 1175-1181
        • Spoolder H.A.M.
        • Edwards S.A.
        • Corning S.
        Effects of group size and feeder space allowance on welfare in finishing pigs..
        Anim. Sci. 1999; 69: 481-489
      17. Stalder, K. 2016. Pork Productivity Analysis, National Pork Barod Research Grant Report. Natl. Pork Board, Des Moines, IA.

      18. Steinhart, T. L. 2012. Swine Feed Efficiency: Influence of Particle Size. Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA.

      19. Straits Research. 2019. Animal feed phytase market: Information by types (granular phytases, powder phytases and thermostable phytases) application (swine, poultry, ruminants, aquatic animals)—Forecast till 2026. Accessed Feb. 25, 2020.

        • Taylor N.R.
        • Parker R.M.A.
        • Mendl M.
        • Edwards S.A.
        • Main D.C.J.
        Prevalence of risk factors for tail biting on commercial farms and intervention strategies..
        Vet. J. 2012; 194: 77-83
        • Trabue S.L.
        • Kerr B.J.
        • Scoggin K.D.
        • Andersen D.
        • Van Weelden M.
        Swine diets impact manure characteristics and gas emissions: Part I Protein level..
        Sci. Total Environ. 2021; 755 (142528) (a)
        • Trabue S.L.
        • Kerr B.J.
        • Scoggin K.D.
        • Andersen D.
        • van Weelden M.
        Swine diets impact manure characteristics and gas emissions: Part II Protein source..
        Sci. Total Environ. 2021; 763 (144207) (b)
        • Turner S.P.
        • Dahlgren M.
        • Arey D.S.
        • Edwards S.A.
        Effect of social group size and initial live weight on feeder space requirement of growing pigs given food ad libitum..
        Anim. Sci. 2002; 75: 75-83
      20. van Heugten, E. 2000. Guidelines for Water Quality in Pigs. North Carolina State Uni., Raleigh, NC.

        • Vermeer H.M.
        • Dirx-Kuijken N.C.
        • Bracke M.
        Exploration feeding and higher space allocation improve welfare of growing-finishing pigs..
        Animals (Basel). 2017; 7: 36
      21. Wayne, S. 2005. Benchmarking health. Pages 172–173 in Allen D. Leman Swine Conference. Univ. Minnesota, St. Paul, MN.

      22. Weather Underground. 2019. Weather history. Accessed Mar. 28, 2020.

        • Weber E.K.
        • Stalder K.J.
        • Patience J.F.
        Wean-to-finish feeder space availability effects on nursery and finishing pig performance and total tract digestibility in a commercial setting when feeding dried distillers grains with solubles..
        J. Anim. Sci. 2015; 93: 1905-1915
      23. Wilson, M. L., S. Niraula, and E. L. Cortus. 2020. Nutrient characteristics of swine manure and wastewater. Pages 89–113 in Animal Manure: Production, Characteristics, Environmental Concerns, and Management. Vol. 67. H. Waldrip, P. Pagliari, and Z. He, ed. Am. Soc. Agron., Soil Sci. Soc. Am., Madison, WI.

        • Wondra K.J.
        • Hancock J.D.
        • Behnke K.C.
        • Stark C.R.
        Effects of mill type and particle size uniformity on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, and stomach morphology in finishing pigs..
        J. Anim. Sci. 1995; 73: 2564-2573