Estimating the Value of SEW Pigs

Ian R. Seddon - Swine Specialist, MAFRI

Interest in SEW (segregated early wean) pigs remains high in the swine industry. The practice of separating farrow-to-finish pig production into three distinct phases at multiple locations is having a major impact on the swine industry. Segregated production and weaning pigs at an early age, from 10 to 17 days, produces healthier, more efficient pigs and helps to maximize the genetic potential.

Segregated early weaning creates a need for a method of valuing those pigs. The value of SEW pigs is best determined by market supply and demand. However, most early weaned pigs are sold through contractual arrangements and not on an open market. Without an open market, what is the early weaned pig worth?

Several methods can be used to determine the price for pigs. The following are examples of methods used to establish formulas for pricing SEW pigs:

  • value based on 16-23 kg (35-50 lb) feeder pig market, adjusted for weight and performance.
  • value based on cost of production.
  • value based on cost of production, plus a premium for increased performance.
  • value based on equal returns to different stages of production.
  • value based on profit sharing between different stages of production.
  • value based on anticipated market price, i.e. live hog futures.

SEW pigs should be priced at a premium due to differences in health status, weight and performance potential. Two important points must be made regarding the different methods for deriving a pricing structure. First, it is important to realize that no formula or pricing system will be best in all situations. Second, it is critical that producers and others developing or evaluating formulas know their production costs.

For more information on the pricing of SEW pigs, contact your nearest livestock specialist.