Sows feed their young at Lucion pig farm, near Sorriso, Brazil. The pens are designed so that the heavy sows don't accidentally crush their young, and have steady access to food and water. While I was there, the sows spent most of their time lying on their sides but could get up on their feet at will.
Lucion adheres to European standards for pig raising, which require a 30-day period during each maternal cycle when the pigs can walk about freely, but most of them were lying down anyway.
The farm produces 980 pigs to slaughter per day (the slaughterhouse is run by the Lucion subsidiary Nutribras, which process 1300 pigs per day, with some purchases from other farms.) Locally grown corn and soybeans comprise 82% of the diet, with augmentation of vitamins, etc. All of the pig excrement is used for fertilizing the fields that feed the pigs and provides methane to run much of the machinery. They also extract soybean oil to power their vehicles.
Their pork is sold to multiple countries:
China and Hong Kong take most internal organs. Brazil takes face, ears, nose, ass, feet, and bacon. Ukraine and Russia take ribs, back, legs, and hams.
Pigs have 160 days to grow from birth to slaughter and are slaughtered at 120kg live weight, of which 88kg is meat and skeleton. Each 120kg animal consumes 280kg of feed and 2,000 liters of water over its short lifetime. They have a relatively disease-free dry environment, and plenty of land to isolate the farm from transmitted diseases. The farm breeds pigs that are a mixture of four varieties: Large White, Landrace, Duroc, and Pietran.
- ©2013 George Steinmetz
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