As a farmer, it is important to know how much a pig weighs so you can plan for its slaughter and sale.
The average weight of a pig at slaughter is a critical consideration in the pork industry because it affects several aspects including:
- the market value,
- the leanness of the meat,
- quality grade,
- processing yield, and more.
In this article, we will discuss the average weight of a pig at slaughter.
Why there is an optimum slaughter weight for a pig?
As pigs grow, their efficiency at converting feed to weight decreases. If a pig is too small, it will need more feed to grow. Likewise, it will be less profitable than if the pig had been allowed to get larger before butchering.
Underweight pigs also produce poor-quality carcasses that yield low-grade cuts of pork because there aren’t enough intramuscular fat stores for marbling.
The most efficient weight for a pig is the weight at which feed conversion is highest and it happens when market animals reach their full or almost full size.
What is the average weight of a pig at slaughter?
According to a 2021 USDA Report, the national live weight average in the United States is 284 lbs. These hogs are generally in excellent condition and yield a high-quality, well-marbled carcass.
As mentioned above, 240 to 280-pound pigs are considered the optimum size for slaughter purposes in the US. Intramuscular fat cover in these larger carcasses is slightly increased and dressing percentage is slightly decreased than when compared to leaner market weights.
In addition, weight gains from market weight to the 240-270 pound range is very high for feeder pigs. For example, a 220-pound pig will gain an additional 30 pounds between market and 240 pounds live weight – a total of 250 pounds live before going to the packing plant.
There are slight differences in estimated slaughter weights across countries due to differences in physical conditions, feed type, and genetics.
How much meat you will get from a 250lbs pig?
According to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, a 250-pound hog will also yield approximately 144 lbs. of edible product in the form of fresh pork cuts (including spare ribs), cured products (about 50 lb.), a variety of meats, and sausage.
Around 28% of a hog’s live weight is inedible product removed during processing. This is made of 8% inedible meat/fat trimmings, 5% inedible organ meats, 6% inedible bones, and 3% other byproducts (head, feet, blood).
How to calculate a pig’s weight?
Employ the method below using only a measuring tape and a calculator to estimate the average weight of a pig at slaughter.
- Determine the circumferential measurement of the animal, as depicted in “distance C” in the illustration. Make certain to measure girth with the location of the pig’s heart.
- Take the perimeter of the animal, as shown in distance A-B in the picture. The calculation is only approximate when the pig is standing or restrained in the position shown in the drawing.
- Use the calculations from steps 1 and 2 to get an animal’s weight in pounds, using the formula HEART GIRTH x HEART GIRTH x BODY LENGTH / 400 = ANIMAL WEIGHT IN POUNDS. For example, if an adult pig has a heart girth equal to 45 inches and a body length equal to 54 inches, the calculation would be (45 x 45 x 54) / 400 = 273 lbs.
- If the hog or sow is under 150 pounds, add 7 pounds to the total answer. For example, if you have a young hog whose total body weight you have calculated to be 125 using the formula above, use the formula 125 + 7 = 132 lbs.
Online Pig Weight Calculator
Alternatively, you can use an online pig weight calculator to calculate the average slaughter weight of a pig at https://www.vcalc.com/wiki/AndrewBudd/Weight+of+meat+on+a+hog
The site calculates the number based on your input measurements and provides you with an estimate for both live weights and dressed or carcass weight.
To ensure maximum profit, it is important to sell pigs at the optimum weight. Pigs above 280 pounds live weight should only be selected for breeding.
We have found this to be a very useful resource for beginners and experienced pig farmers alike, not just in regards to knowing how much meat you get from 250lbs.
The estimated average weight of a pig at slaughter is between 240 to 280 pounds live weight. It yields approximately 122 lbs. of fresh pork cuts, 50 lbs. of the cured product, and various other byproducts.
For more information about hog farming, read more articles here!
Sarah Lane has been a farm wife since 2010 and mother of two children for nearly as long. She and her husband, Jonathan, live on a small farm in Texas where they raise dairy goats and beef cattle as well as chickens for eggs and meat. In addition to growing their own hay, straw and garden produce, the Lane family works with other nearby farms to source organic grain from which they make artisan bread sold at local farmer’s market.