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Beam operates his farrow-to-finish farm with wife Mari
lyn and family, including son Joshua, 3 years old, and three
girls Denise, 7; Joy, 5; and Mindy, 10 months. Beam has
help full time from Scott Stoltzfus, his cousin, who is the far
rowing and breeding manager.
The Beams finish 4,300 hogs per year and sell on the open
market to Hatfield. Beam delivers the hog directly to the
Beam uses York-Landrace maternal genetics and News
ham sires, about 80-90 percent AI, though the farm also uses
a couple of boars for heat detection. In litter size, average
born live is 11.3 and weaned is 10.1. The Beams use a six
room wean-to-finish site.
After the pigs are bom in the farrowing room, they stay
with the sow for 15 days. In the farrow room, heat mats with
lamps are used and the pigs are introduced to creep feeding
after one week of age.
After the sow is removed after IS days, the pigs stay in the
crate an additional two weeks. They are fed a commercial
mix, composed of milk products, corn, soy, easy-to-digest
feedstuffs, vitamins, and minerals.
Afterward they are moved to the finish house using a hy
draulic cart. The finish house has a concrete slat floor.
The new finish house was completed in 1996 and uses
negative ventilation. When hot weather sets in, the house
becomes tunnel ventilated. That same year, Beam renovated
the nursery to a farrowing operation. The house has a 16-18-
inch pit fan, and several other fans measuring 24,36, and 48
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During the hottest time of the summer, with temperatures
at or near 100 degrees, the house opens to full tunnel. But
not all day long. In the middle of summer, Beam has seen
the house open at 10-11 a.m. and returnsto normal ventila
tion between 8-9 p.m.
In 1999, despite the high temperatures, Beam said there
were no heat-related death losses.
In an ideal system, Beam noted, the hogs will grow faster
and consume more feed, increasing their fat percentage.
The key, he said, is adjusting feed requirements to the finish
The finish hogs are fed gradually decreasing amounts of
protein, depending on the days to finish. Corn feed for all
groups goes through a mixer, reducing particle size and im
proving feed intake and efficiency. Beam uses an 800-850
micron particle size for the corn.
Beam noted that the most critical time is farrowing. “You
have to take care of the sow,” he said. Sows are given a full
regimen of vaccines, including PRRS, lepto, parvo, borde
tella, e coli, and others. Since adopting that philosophy,
Beam noted there haven’t been any healthy problems.
Sanitation is also key to general management, something
Beam learned when moving from a previous continuous
flow operation to his current all-in, all-out system. When
emptying the houses, they are pressure-washed and disin
fected with a commercial product.
Beam doesn’t use an ultrasound or other devices to mea
sure carcass quality at the farm. Instead he relies on infor
mation on carcass quality, including percent lean, from
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