Meat & Livestock News

Unleashing Genetic Potential in Pig Farming Through Careful Management


  • Maximising genetic potential in pigs is crucial for successful pig farming, akin to nurturing athletes’ inherent abilities.
  • Caregiver practices significantly impact the realisation of pigs’ genetic potential, with training and daily management being key to maintaining optimal conditions.
  • Pipestone Management emphasises the importance of excellent and consistent care, auditing team performance daily to ensure high farm efficiency and financial success.

In the world of pig farming, the quest to fully unlock the genetic potential of pigs is ongoing and challenging. Sam DeHaas, the vice president of production in the East region with Pipestone Management, shares insights into this complex process.

Just as legendary athletes like Michael Jordan and LeBron James weren’t born NBA-ready but had to nurture their inherent abilities, pigs too are born with a set maximum genetic potential. This potential, however, is fixed and cannot be enhanced through training or practice.

The role of pig farmers, then, is to maintain this genetic potential by providing optimal living conditions. This includes ensuring the pigs have access to clean air, quality feed, and water, and are kept in comfort and good health. Any deviation from these conditions can negatively impact the pigs’ potential. As caregivers, the responsibility falls on farmers to meet every need of the pigs, from their daily care to their performance requirements.

Interestingly, when comparing farms with similar genetic lines, it’s not the age or the newness of the facilities that determines performance levels but rather the practices of the caregivers. Effective and proven production practices, along with the caregivers’ ability to address issues promptly, are what lead to superior results. This highlights the critical need for proper training for caregivers to ensure they can replicate excellent performance consistently.

Observation and daily feedback for employees is essential to ensure animals receive the care needed to reach their genetic potential. Great caregivers can significantly mitigate factors that limit genetic potential, leading to enhanced farm efficiency and financial performance.

At Pipestone Management, there’s a strong emphasis on providing consistent and excellent care to animals. The team’s performance is audited daily to challenge and encourage continuous improvement. This approach not only supports the realisation of the pigs’ genetic potential but also contributes to the farm’s financial success.