Key Points for Judging Swine

  • Evaluate animals first from the ground up and then from the rear forward.
  • Rank the traits for their importance.
  • Evaluate the most important traits first.
  • Eliminate any easy placings.
  • Place the class based on the volume of the important traits.

Ranking of Traits for Market Hogs

  • Degree of muscling
  • Growth
  • Capacity or volume
  • Degree of leannesss (amount of fat)
  • Structure and soundness

Ranking of Traits for Maternal Line Breeding Gilts

  • Structure and soundness
  • Growth
  • Underline quality
  • Capacity or volume
  • Degree of muscling
  • Degree of leanness (amount of fat)

Ranking of Traits for Terminal Line Breeding Gilts

  • Structure and soundness
  • Degree of muscling
  • Growth
  • Capacity or volume
  • Degree of leanness (amount of fat)
  • Underline quality

Evaluating Muscling

Evaluating Degree of Muscling

Indicators of muscling to evaluate include:

  • Thickness through the center of the ham (stifle area).
  • Width between rear feet when the pig walks or stands.
  • Shape over the loin (top) - butterfly shape is desired.

Evaluating Degree of Muscling Center Width of Hams Narrow vs good width

Evaluating Degree of Muscling Width Between Rear Feet

Evaluating Degree of Muscling Shape of Top fat vs great top

Evaluating Growth

Evaluating Growth

  • It is important that pigs have good growth rate and reach market weight at an early age.
Evaluating Growth Pig

Tips for evaluating growth:

  • Unless instructed otherwise, assume all pigs in the class are the same age.
  • Evaluate growth based on the weight of the pigs in the class.
  • Rank the pigs from heaviest to lightest (heaviest pig = fastest growth)

Evaluating Capacity

Evaluating Capacity (Volume)

Capacity (volume) is determined by 4 factors.

  • Depth of body
  • Length of body
  • Width through the rib and chest
  • Balance - how well does the pig's depth, length, and width length fit together.

Evaluating Capacity (Volume - Depth of Body)

Good depth of body is important for:

  • Capacity for feeding in market hogs and gilts
  • Good ability to eat and grow
  • Capacity for reproduction in breeding hogs
  • Ability to carry large litters

Evaluating Capacity Depth of Body

Evaluating Capacity Depth of Body Good Uniform Depth

Evaluating Capacity (Volume) - Length of Body

Good length of body is important for:

  1. Adds too capacity for feeding in market hogs
    • Good ability to eat and grow
  2. Underline capacity in breeding hogs
    • Adequate space for piglets to nurse
  3. Proper balance of traits affecting capacity

Evaluating Capacity length of body

Evaluating Capacity (Volume) - Width

  1. Pigs with good width will be wide based
    • Walk wide in front and rear
    • Good width through chest
  2. The top 1/3 and bottom 1/3 should be the same width, and the middle 1/3 should be wider
    • Good spring of rib

Evaluating Capacity Width too narrow vs nice width

Evaluating Capacity Width Nice Wide Chest

Evaluating Degree of Leanness

Evaluating Leanness

  1. Degree of leanness is influenced by:
    • Degree of muscling
    • Frame size
    • Sex
    • Age and weight
  2. Fat is deposited from the front to the rear as the animal matures.
    Evaluation of Leanness

Evaluating Leanness

  1. Leanness can be determined by the presence or absence of indentations in the following areas:
    • Over and behind the shoulders
    • Ham-loin junction
    • Dimple just in front of the tail head
  2. Key points to remember:
    • Muscle is hard, fat is soft
    • Muscle is firm, fat is loose

Evaluating Leanness

Evaluating Leanness Fat Alert

Evaluating Leanness Lean Machine

Evaluating Structure and Soundness

Evaluating Structure/Soundness

When evaluating structure and soundness, pay close attention to the following:

  1. Front and rear leg columns
  2. Feet and pasterns
  3. Hocks
  4. Knees
  5. Rump
  6. Shoulder

Evaluating Structures Soundness Front Column correct splay pigeon toes

Evaluating Structure Soundness Rear column Correct Cow Hocked Bow Legged

Evaluating Structure and Soundness too much set pasterns feet turned out

Evaluating Structure / Soundness:  Feet & Pasterns - Good Set to Pasterns; Good Feet & Toes

Evaluating Structure Soundness Hocks Too Straight, Too Much Set

Evaluating Structure Soundness Hocks Swollen Hocks

Evaluating Structure Soundness Hocks - Good Set Curvature

Evaluating Structure Soundness Knees Too Much Set Bucked Over

Evaluating Structure Soundness Knees Good Set to Knees

Evaluating Structure Soundness Rump Too Steep Nasty

Evaluating Structure Soundness Rump Nice Level Rump

Evaluating Structure Soundness Shoulders Too Straight Nasty

Evaluating Structure Soundness Shoulders Excellent Slope Set

Evaluating Underline Quality

Evaluating Underline Quality

A good underline will consist of the following:

  1. Both rows of teats easily accessible
  2. Six to seven teats per side
  3. Teats evenly spaced
  4. Pencil eraser-sized teats
  5. Free from pin, blind, and inverted nipples

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