1. Establishing bedding requirements during transport and monitoring skin temperature over seasons after transport for finishing pigs.
The objective of this study was to determine how much bedding should be provided in the transport trailer for finishing weight pigs in cold, mild, and warm weather. Pigs were raised to finishing weight and then transported to commercial processing plants. Upon arrival at the processing plants, the numbers of dead on arrival, non-ambulatory, and total dead and down pigs were counted. Non-invasive infrared thermography was used to collect skin surface temperature. Total dead and down was not affected by bedding level in cold and mild temperatures; however, when air temperature exceeded 32 °C, numbers of total dead and down drastically increased. Skin surface temperature increased linearly with air temperature in all temperature ranges. These findings suggest that excessive bedding may be economically inefficient, and may actually increase pig losses in warm weather.

2. Establishing boarding requirements for finishing pigs during transport
The objective of this study was to determine the level of boarding that should be provided on transport trailers for finishing weight pigs in mild weather. Pigs were transported from finishing sites to commercial processing plants in temperatures between 5 and 24 °C. Numbers of dead on arrival (DOA), non-ambulatory (NA), and total dead and down (D&D) were counted upon arrival at the processing plant. Boarding on each trailer was either low (0-30 %), medium (31-60 %), or high (> 61%). Data for DOA, NA, and D&D were considered in 4 temperature ranges (< 5 °C, 5.10 – 10.00 °C, 10.10 – 15. 00 °C, and > 15.00 °C). D&D was highest in trailers with low boarding level at temperatures < 5 °C. Boarding levels had no effect on pig losses in any temperature range above 5.10 °C. These results will provide scientifically supported guidelines for swine transport personnel, with the goal of improving animal welfare and reducing economic losses.

Contact information:  Dr. John McGlone
   204 Animal and Food Sciences
   Texas Tech University
   Lubbock, TX 79409-2141