In this 69th episode of the Real P3 podcast, Dr Casey Bradley speaks to specialty pork producer, Stewart Skinner, in Ontario, Canada.
Skinner grew up on a conventional pig farm and earned a degree in agriculture business and then a master’s in agriculture economics at The University of Guelph and even spent some time working in politics in the agriculture sector.
In 2016 he returned to farming and founded Imani Farms, which caters to niche markets focused on certified humane pigs raised through a mix between farrow-to-finish and ween-to-finish production. All of his 25,000 pigs produced per year enjoy an enhanced environment and are raised on straw for the certified organic and certified humane markets in Canada and the US.
Skinner spoke about some of his challenges, including mixing flows, which makes it very hard to trace back and find route sources of problems. He advises that if a producer must mix pigs, it is better to do so at weaning rather than as a feeder pig. Batch farrowing also helps, he said.
Casey asked Skinner what a full-value pig is for his operation, which he says is one of the most important metrics to track.
The conversation turned to water. “Water is probably the most overlooked thing in our business prior to the last 12 months,” said Skinner, explaining that in all of the nurseries that they are able to, they have installed iron filtration systems and then acidifying the water.
“We’ve made some of our best gains on the nursery front by installing iron filtration pre-acidification,” he said, also highlighting that the palatability of the water shouldn’t be overlooked, either.