I found this picture on Pinterest last summer while looking for pictures of similar model Frieghtliner semi trucks. Photographer is unknown.
When I first found the photo and enlarged it to where G&G Trucking on the truck and G&G Hogs on the trailer were visible many memories came rushing back to me. G&G hogs was a local company that bought hogs at their headquarters along with buying them out of area livestock auctions/sale barns for slaughter. While G&G trucking handled the transportation.
My family like many other farms raised hogs on there family farm. Before my memory my parents had sows and raised pigs from birth to slaughter weight. When I was older they bought feeder pigs, 50 to 60 pound pigs to feed to market weight.
In the mid 70’s to the early 80’s it seemed like there was a pig on every open piece of land that we could find. We had hog lots by the shop, across the road from the shop, and at a couple of old farmsteads down the road. In addition to dirt lots there was a hog barn across the road from the shop that could house about 300 head of hogs and we rented a another building next to town the would have held just as many.
Raising hogs on dirt is a pretty low cost endeavor. Dad and granddad had built shelters for them with a pipe frame that could be dragged around, some wire panels pens, electric fence, recycled lumber was used to build platforms for the water tanks and feeders. Raising them inside did cost a little more due to the capital investment in the buildings. The building at home was completely open on the south side so it was a summer only feeding use. The building rented next to town was fully enclosed so it could be used year round.
When the pigs first arrived for the dirt lots they were in pens with the wire panels and as they grew older they were introduced to electric fence and later their pens were expanded with electric fence. Feeding pigs outside usually resulted to slower weight gain, but was offset by the lower costs. Pigs fed inside were kept in pens they were permanently assigned had a portion of the floor slatted so waste could run into a pit underneath and them applied on farmland, nipple waters, and small feeders on the concrete floors that were supplied by bulk bins outside the buildings.
The local elevator mixed the feed to our specifications and delivered it to the the feeders for the outside pigs and the bulk bins for the inside pigs. We supplied the grain sorghum for the energy portion of the feed, mineral vitamins and and most likely soybean meal was added for protein. We used grain sorghum because the feed value is 90+% of corn, but priced much lower so using it significantly added value to the crop raised on the farm. The few times wheat prices were low enough justify feeding, feed rations were altered to included wheat.
Some pigs were sourced locally while others came from further west such as the Great Bend, Kansas area. We built a good relationship with pig suppliers and even when markets were down we kept buying pigs from them knowing markets would turn around they would all make money again. In those times weak livestock market generally were times of strong grain markets so it might be a wash at the end of the year.
There were so many places that we marketed hogs at. I remember riding with dad to a buying station north of Clay Center, Kansas, a buying station is a place where farmers sold pigs directly to a packing company and they shipped semi loads to the packing plant. On many Thursday’s we had either the gooseneck livestock trailer or a grain truck loaded with market hogs to go to JC Livestock in Junction City, in the 80’s the place with hopping on thursday’s with pigs and Saturday’s with cattle, everyone in the area used them even though it was further than other sale barns this was where the most competitive prices were. Many mornings we hauled them to Pork Packers in Downs Kansas, dad commented that if the market prediction were for lower prices that day there was quite a line of trucks and trailers to unload before 9am and if the prices were expected to increase that day then the line might be at the gas station waiting to go to the packing house after 9am. We used Gehrke’s, G&G hogs, quite a bit also they were 10 miles away and we either didn’t have time to for the longer hauls or it was a money losing time when where they would buy lighter hogs with less discounts.
We played with feeding pigs a few times in the later 80’s and 90’s doing the Farmland grids through their buying station in Linn Kansas which worked quite well if pigs could be sourced that would meet the premiums offered. The writing was on the wall that high profit margin times were past and large producers comfortable making lower profit margins while maintaining family living were the way to go. This quickly gave way to packer control hogs after the price crash in the late 90’s that has resulted in 7 year financing of new hog buildings with 5 year contracts and all the feed coming off of company feed trucks. Only advantage farmers might have is access to manure and another market to stabilize feed grain prices, but many times the feed mill is located on rail lines that are able to bring low priced grain in from the central corn belt at a reduced costs.