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Heat Stress

Heat stress and its predictable impact on carcass weight – typically a 5–12 lbs reduction – consistently is one of the industry’s most challenging and costly issues, and 2023 was no different. Its negative effects, including lights and associated discounts, put real pressure on producer profitability. The “summer dip” – about a five-month interval, peaking from May through September – incurs losses that are difficult to recoup throughout the rest of the year.

2023 observations for all pigs:

  1. Carcass weights were consistently lighter (about 2 lbs) than the 5-year average
  2. Weight dip is about 7-9 lbs

* As in the past, weight dip starts about mid-April and goes to October (about 5-month interval)

Carcass Weight Comparison

Commercial research conducted in large Midwest systems, comparing carcass weight in a traditional feeding program to a summer feeding program containing higher levels of soybean meal with less DDGs, showed a 7.6 lb. advantage from mid-May through mid-September.

*Each point represents a 3-week rolling average for more than 80,000 pigs marketed

Learn more about how to skip the summer dip in your operation

1USDA-AMS 2023. Partners for Production Agriculture.