1st Page



This article in

  1. Vol. 85 No. 12, p. 3454-3461
    Received: Apr 23, 2007
    Accepted: July 31, 2007
    Published: December 8, 2014

    3 Corresponding author(s):


Effects of distance moved during loading and floor space on the trailer during transport on losses of market weight pigs on arrival at the packing plant1

  1. M. J. Ritter*2,
  2. M. Ellis*3,
  3. C. R. Bertelsen*,
  4. R. Bowman,
  5. J. Brinkmann,
  6. J. M. DeDecker*,
  7. K. K. Keffaber,
  8. C. M. Murphy*,
  9. B. A. Peterson*,
  10. J. M. Schlipf* and
  11. B. F. Wolter
  1. Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801;
    The Maschhoffs Inc., Carlyle, IL 62231; and
    Elanco Animal Health, Greenfield, IN 46140


Effects of distance moved during loading and floor space on the trailer during transport on the incidence of transport losses (dead and nonambulatory pigs) on arrival at the packing plant were evaluated in a study involving 42 loads of pigs (average BW = 131.2 kg, SD 5.05). A split-plot design was used with a 2 × 6 factorial arrangement of the following treatments: 1) distance moved from the pen to the exit of the building [short (0 to 30.5 m) vs. long (61.0 to 91.4 m)] and 2) transport floor space (0.396, 0.415, 0.437, 0.462, 0.489, or 0.520 m2/pig). Loading distance treatments (sub-plots) were compared within transport floor space treatments (main plot). Pigs were loaded at the farm using sorting boards and, if necessary, electric goads, transported approximately 3 h to a commercial packing plant and unloaded using livestock paddles. The number of nonambulatory pigs during loading and the number of dead and nonambulatory pigs at the plant were recorded. Nonambulatory pigs were classified as fatigued, injured, or injured and fatigued. In addition, the incidence of pigs exhibiting signs of stress (open-mouth breathing, skin discoloration, and muscle tremors) during loading and unloading was recorded. There were no interactions (P > 0.05) between distance moved and transport floor space treatments. Moving pigs long compared with short distances during loading increased (P < 0.001) the incidence of open-mouth breathing after loading (24.9 vs. 11.0 ± 1.03%, respectively) and tended to increase the incidence of nonambulatory pigs during loading (0.32 vs. 0.08 ± 0.09%, respectively; P = 0.09) and of nonambulatory, injured pigs at the plant (0.24 vs. 0.04 ± 0.07%, respectively; P = 0.06). However, distance moved did not affect other losses at the plant. Total losses at the plant were greater (P < 0.05) for the 3 lowest floor spaces compared with the 2 highest floor spaces, and pigs provided 0.462 m2/pig during transport had similar transport losses to those provided 0.489 and 0.520 m2/pig (total losses at the plant = 2.84, 1.88, 1.87, 0.98, 0.13, and 0.98 ± 0.43% of pigs transported, for 0.396, 0.415, 0.437, 0.462, 0.489, and 0.520 m2/pig, respectively). These data confirm previous findings that transport floor space has a major effect on transport losses and suggest that these losses are minimized at a floor space of 0.462 m2/pig or greater.

Copyright © 2007. Copyright 2007 Journal of Animal Science