April 2016
It’s all in the genes
Developing quality swine genetics can boost the herd’s productivity. Several in-depth research projects in the April 2016 Blueprint issue of National Hog Farmer focus on the impact of genetics on productivity, feed efficiency, health and carcass traits. Swine genomics research also plays an important role in improving swine health and welfare.

October 2015
Sketching group housing conversions
As debate rages on surrounding gestation stalls versus gestation pens for gilts and sows, the October 2015 Blueprint issue of National Hog Farmer presents various looks at designs and concepts that are worth further investigation.

April 2015
Sow lifetime productivity
Sow lifetime productivity can be defined as the total number of quality pigs a sow weans from the time she becomes breeding eligible until she is removed from the herd. Accordingly, the primary components of sow lifetime productivity are the duration sows remain productive in the herd and the viability and productivity of piglets prior to weaning. The April 2015 Blueprint issue of National Hog Farmer presents the findings from research conducted by the National Pork Board looking at sow lifetime productivity.

April 2014
Maintaining markets
Maintaining markets for U.S. pork involves a variety of factors ranging from earning trust to building export markets, and coming up with additional strategies to maintain market access. This Blueprint issue looks at a number of those factors to maintain a market stronghold.

October 2012
Facility Design & Management
The October 2012 Blueprint issue of National Hog Farmer is devoted to facility design and management. Articles have been prepared by some of the country's leading authorities on facility design topics that impact the business of pork production.While the drought of 2012 is acutely felt across the swine industry, most pork producers have pulled back on any expansion or remodeling plans. Still, aging production facilities require periodic updating and, eventually, replacement. As sow prolificacy, pig performance and market weights increase at a steady pace, ventilation management, energy use, feed and water delivery, manure storage and handling are top of mind as producers redouble efforts to ensure pig welfare and worker health and safety. 

April 2012
Chipping Away at PRRS
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome remains the pork industry's most difficult animal health challenge and by far the most costly endeavor that producers have ever had to deal with. To help producers manage this ongoing problem, this special edition devoted to PRRS details the lengthy history of the virus and the triumphs and tragedies that have marked this decades-long battle. This Blueprint issue also offers information on the science of biosecurity, air filtration programs geared to sow farms, a biosecurity checklist for sow farms that can't filter and cleanup programs that provide the best payback. 

October 2011
Striving for 30 P/S/Y
The push to hit 30-pigs per sow per year production target, or more, presents new challenges and new debates about the impact these efforts will have on gestating and lactating sows, pig birth weights and weaning weights, subsequent grow-finish performance and sow longevity. As the industry strives to achieve this higher reproductive milestone, the health and dietary demands on sows become increasingly important, the impact on pig flows and facilities is magnified, and the bar to capture full genetic potential is raised.

April 2011
Immunology 101
For pork producers to understand the essential building blocks of a disease management program, they need to grasp the concepts behind basic immunology. This special edition will explain how to create and measure the success of a successful herd health program, the different types of immunity, the importance of a well-timed vaccination program, routes of vaccine delivery, the nuances and importance of determining whether a federally licensed or autogenous vaccine is most sustainable for a disease challenge, and understanding disease resistance, especially for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome.

October 2010
Managing Replacement Gilts
Identifying a top-quality source of replacement gilts is critical to the long-term health and productivity of the breeding herd. This Blueprint edition provides guidelines for building a sound replacement gilt program, including nutritional considerations to maximize genetic potential, the importance of an effective health management program, ensuring selection pressure is being placed on repoductive traits, and a special section on screening for reproductive and skeletal soundness.

April 2010
Positioning for Profitability
As positive margins return to pork producers' ledgers, owners and managers are recounting the hard lessons learned as they redouble efforts to improve risk management skills, measure and manage production variance with greater precision, and produce quality pork in a safe, sustainable and consistent manner.

October 2009
Biosecurity Solutions
The news reports announcing the discovery of the H1N1 Flu Outbreak Virus on April 24, 2009 increased the urgency for proper biosecurity measures in hog operations. Producers continually face the challenge of managing the biosecurity of pigs, people, packages and pests as they redouble efforts to stave off costly swine diseases and retain their access to pork markets in this age of economic uncertainty.

April 2009
More Efficient Use of Feed
The volatility of feed prices in recent years has heightened producers' awareness of the need for continual improvement in the efficiency of feed use.

October 2008
Sow & Pig Care
This 47th edition in the Blueprint series focuses on the critical need to train farrowing managers on the proper care and handling of sows and piglets to maximize performance of the breeding herd.

April 2008
Managing Variation
This 46th edition in the Blueprint series focuses on initiating more effective strategies to manage and minimize the causes of variation in pig production.

October 2007
Focus on Fertility
A closer look at the complex and persistent challenges that pork producers face in dealing with fertility issues.

April 2007
Improving Disease Diagnostics
The importance of developing a solid working relationship between pork producers/managers and their herd veterinarian.

October 2006
Early Finishing Management
This 43rd in a series of Blueprint issues provides a detailed look at managing, housing, treating and feeding pigs during the early finishing phase of production.

April 2006
Managing Sows in Gestation

October 2005
Weaning Age Revisited
In the 41st edition of the Blueprint series, swine industry authorities list the various pros and cons of different pig-weaning strategies.

April 2005
Maximizing Throughput
The challenges of maximizing pig flow and profits are addressed in this 40th edition of the Blueprint series published by National Hog Farmer.

October 2004
Herd Health Strategies
This 39th edition of the Blueprint series from National Hog Farmer provides an in-depth look at the pros and cons of a number of disease avoidance and management programs.

April 2004
Parity-Based Management
Over the years, various swine production systems have greatly improved productivity and reduced the cost of production. But most have had relatively lesser success in controlling some of the most serious swine diseases affecting the industry today.

October 2003
Enteric Disease Control
Battling swine enteric disease can be a constant and reoccurring challenge for pork producers.

April 2003
Building Herd Immunity
The ability of the pig to mount and maintain a protective response, through natural or acquired immunity, is a very involved process.

October 2002
Improving Finishing Efficiency
Exploring factors that impact growth rates and efficiency of lean gain in grow-finish production is the subject of this 35th edition of the Blueprint series from National Hog Farmer.

April 2002
Hog and Pork Production Values

October 2001
Fighting Respiratory Disease
This 33rd edition of the Blueprint series from National Hog Farmer tackles the daunting challenge of fighting swine respiratory disease from farrow-to-finish.

April 2001
Production & Financial Standards for the Pork Industry
Pork producers charge into the 21st century armed with new capabilities to capture and compile more data and information about the performance of their production systems. With this capability comes the ever-mounting challenge to make more sense of it all.

October 2000
Early Weaned Pigs
Meeting the challenges of early weaned pigs is the focus of this 31st edition of the Blueprint series from National Hog Farmer.

April 2000
Sow herd management, nutrition and health
Sow productivity ranks high on most pork producers’ priority lists. Sow herd management, nutrition and health have garnered the most effort to increase the number of high-quality pigs per litter. Genetic evaluation data on modern sow lines has been limited, however.