This is the
VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
For Chinese, this is the Year of the Pig. So this is probably as good a time
as any to talk about the different kinds of production systems for raising
kind of operation is called a farrow-to-wean farm. The animals are born, or
, in a farrowing barn. Pigs usually give birth two times a
year. Each time they have about eight to twelve piglets.
The piglets drink milk from the mother sow for three to four weeks, or until
they weigh between four and a half and seven kilograms. After they are weaned
from their mothers, they are sold.
At another kind of operation, producers raise pigs for about six weeks. When
the animals weigh eighteen to twenty-seven kilograms, they are sold to a finish
A third kind of farm is the farrow-to-finish operation. Pigs
are born there and stay there. The hogs are brought to market when they
reach between 90 and 114 kilograms.
These three basic production systems used in the United States are described
at pork4kids.com, an industry Web site.
Young hogs raised for meat are called feeders. They feed on corn, wheat,
soybeans and other grains.
Pigs need protection from heat, cold, rain and snow. Did you know that pigs
can get sunburned? They also need enough space to move around easily. Some
farmers and activists for animals say pigs do better outdoors in a pasture or
yard than in crowded pens.
People who raise pigs say the animals are
"escape artists," so a good strong fence is important. The smell from their
waste can also be a problem. Some farmers spread the waste on cropland and plow
it under immediately to help control the smell.
But producers have to be careful with untreated waste. It can pollute
groundwater and cause other environmental and health problems.
To meet demand in the United States, producers keep about sixty million hogs
at any one time. Most of these are in operations with more than five thousand
The world's largest producer of pork is China, followed by Mexico. The United
States is third. Pigs provide about twenty-five percent of the American meat
supply. About five percent of that is imported. But the United States is also a
leading exporter of pork and pork products.
And that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn
Watson. Transcripts and audio files of our reports are at voaspecialenglish.com.
I'm Steve Ember.
to give birth to a litter of piglets（下猪崽）
sow : 大母猪