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Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Les Crow, Jul 11, 2012.
I have one white york and one landrace pig. What is a good weight to bring them in?
"The Industry" wants 235lb pigs, but you have the luxury of doing it however you want.
I like big pork chops so I usually kill at 300-350
Actually the "Industry" as you put it wants a pig much larger than 235 lb. The sweet spot for most of the marketing matrices is in the 260 to 300 lb range.
We just took in 3 and they ranged from 240 to 300. I like them that size and the customers are happy.
The local buying station here wants a minimum of 230 pounds. There is a significant price penalty for hogs over 300. We like a little flavor (fat) on our pork, so we try to butcher around 290 or so. If you want the lard rendered for cooking, you might want to go a little heavier than that. We had one that grew like a weed and went over 330 a few years back. Got lots of lard off of Fatty McFat.
275-325 lbs. is good. One exception i had was a 450 lb. hamp boar.
The standard seems to be around 225 to 250 because that is where many pigs on grain tend to start putting on fat and being less efficient at converting food to meat.
From an economics of processing point of view I like about 300 lbs. This balances the costs of transportation, slaughter and butchering which are almost fixed against the size pork chops that customers in stores expect such that I get a good return.
They are good eating at much lower and much higher weights. We sell a lot of roaster pigs from around 25 lbs to 150 lbs hanging weight and about once a month or so we butcher a sow who may be 400 to 800 lbs live weight. My favorite cut is Boston Butt steaks of a big sow - delicious and wonderfully marbled. Chefs often pre-order the big sows long in advance because they want the huge hams and shoulders. Sirloin and Tenderloin go to market. The rest we make into sausage and our all natural hot dogs which are always pre-sold by months in a queue.
So, I would suggest that if you're raising pigs and keeping your feed costs down by pasturing that you go for a larger size to get the most meat for your effort.
It dosen't answer your question directly but we recently butcheded a 3 year old, 600 lb. sow. While the feed conversion was not optimal, the pork is the best we've ever grown. The best answer to your question is butcher whenever you are ready.
The barrow hog I just had processed was 11 months old and 300 lbs hanging weight ,so clearly he weighed more than that alive. It is the best pork we ever ate. my family (3 households) ALL love the pork, and lots of lard and lots of meat. the ham steaks are larger than a dinner plate. the bacon only takes 5 slices to fill up an 11 inch electric skillet.