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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition and Environmental Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #350659

Research Project: Improve Nutrient Management and Efficiency of Beef Cattle and Swine

Location: Nutrition and Environmental Management Research

Title: Dimensions of the modern pig

Author
item Condotta, Isabella - Brazil University
item Brown Brandl, Tami
item Stinn, John - Iowa Select Farms
item Rohrer, Gary
item Davis, Jeremiah - Auburn University
item Silva-miranda, Kesia - Brazil University

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASABE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/27/2018
Publication Date: 11/1/2018
Citation: Condotta, I.C.F.S., Brown-Brandl, T.M., Stinn, J.P., Rohrer, G.A., Davis, J.D., Silva-Miranda, K.O. 2018. Dimensions of the modern pig. Transactions of the ASABE. 61(5):1729-1739. https://doi.org/10.13031/trans.12826.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13031/trans.12826

Interpretive Summary: Physical dimensions of livestock are needed to properly design animal facilities and equipment. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers published a book of engineering standards. Within the book there is one standard which documents all the livestock and poultry dimensions including the dimensions for swine. The data within that standard was taken from a producer’s handbook published in 1963. The changes in animal husbandry practices for swine such as improved and new genetic lines, nutrition and feed form, and improved facility and equipment design, make it necessary to validate or update these dimension curves for modern animals. Therefore, the objective of this study was to document changes in various dimensions of pigs throughout their grow cycle. One hundred and fifty pigs were sampled at 4-, 8-, 12-, 16- and 20-weeks old (30 animals at each age). Animals equally represented three commercial sire-lines (Landrace, Duroc and Yorkshire) and both barrows and gilts. Top and side view digital and depth images were captured of each pig. Measured physical dimensions included height from top of back to floor, length from nose to base of the tail, width at shoulders, jowl length, front leg height, body depth from top of back to lowest point of the belly, and others. It was determined that the conformation of modern pigs has changed from the dimensions reported in current engineering standards, such that modern pigs tend to be wider (15.1%) and shorter in height (-10.2%) and length (-4.9% on average) between 4 and 20 weeks of age. Using these updated pig dimensions will enable engineers to better design modern swine equipment and facilities.

Technical Abstract: It is important to know the physical dimensions of livestock to properly design confined animal housing facilities as well as feeding and drinking equipment. An engineering standard for the dimensions of livestock and poultry published by ASABE reports swine dimensions that were originally published in 1968. Changes in animal husbandry practices for swine, such as improved and new genetic lines, nutrition and feed form, and improved facility and equipment design, make it necessary to validate or update these dimensions for modern animals. The objective of this study was to evaluate dimension data for the grow-finish stages of modern pigs. A total of 150 growing-finishing pigs were sampled at five approximate ages: 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 weeks old (30 animals at each age). The animals equally represented three commercial sire lines (Landrace, Duroc, and Yorkshire), and equal numbers of barrows and gilts were sampled. Dorsal and lateral color digital and depth images were collected using a Kinect sensor as the pigs were held individually in a stanchion or scale, and the images were analyzed by manual and automated methods. Measured physical dimensions included height from top of back to the floor, length from nose to base of the tail, width at shoulders, jowl length, front leg height, body depth from top of back to lowest point of the belly, and others. It was determined that the conformation of modern pigs has changed from the dimensions reported in current engineering standards such that modern pigs tend to be wider (15.1%) and shorter in height (-10.2%) and length (-4.9% on average) between 4 and 20 weeks of age. These updated pig dimensions will enable engineers to better design modern swine equipment and facilities.