Sows vs. Market Pigs
Pigs such as sows and boars are essential for a sustainable harvest cycle
Maximizing efficiency and reducing waste is a concern for every industry. Pigs grow and mature at a quick rate, and many farmers consider a pig ready for harvest when they reach a weight of around 250-270 lbs. Pigs at this weight are considered market pigs or butcher pigs. Pigs can easily grow larger than market weight, but raising market pigs gives industrial farmers the best return on the resources used to feed and maintain their herd.
While market pigs play an important part in providing a food source, pigs such as sows and boars are essential for a sustainable harvest cycle. Boars are male pigs that are used for breeding and sows are female pigs that have given birth to a litter of piglets. Sows and boars can reach sizes much larger than market pigs and are more physically mature than market pigs.
Harvesting pigs for biological materials in addition to a food source helps create a sustainable supply chain. After pigs are processed for food, porcine materials and tissues are harvested to a wide range of industries, including research labs and medical facilities. Porcine materials play a pivotal role in the research and creation of medical and biological innovations that improve the lives of humans and animals alike.
At SSR, we primarily harvest porcine materials from sows, which can give additional benefits to the co-products produced. Sows are stronger, bigger and more mature than market pigs, potentially giving their tissues advantages over younger specimens. Also, since sows are bigger than market pigs, the yields produced can be much larger, giving bigger harvests from fewer animals.
The creation of pig co-products and the harvesting of porcine materials provide an effective partnership between agricultural and scientific industries to promote the reduction of waste products while aiding in the creation of new research and medical materials. The successful collaborations in pig harvesting show that sustainability isn’t a far off dream, but an achievable goal.