Friday, March 25, 2011

Pigs: How to "Weigh" a Pig

Live pigs are hard to weigh. At 8 weeks old they weigh more than a bag of dog food. At 10-12 weeks old they weigh more than a bag of hog feed. After that, the idea of lifting them without heavy equipment is completely out of the question. Moreover, they are squirmy from the day they are born. And since pigs don't like to have their feet off the ground, they scream like banshees when picked up. All this makes routine weight checks by traditional methods hugely inconvenient.

Fortunately, farming is science, and science comes to our rescue once again. Some ingenious farmer at some point recognized a mathematical correlation between the size and weight of a pig. Apparently you can estimate with some accuracy the weight of pigs over 150 pounds by squaring their girth behind the shoulders, then multiplying by length from back of head to tail and dividing that product by 400.

(girth x girth x length) / 400 = weight in pounds

By this formula, a pig that is 40 inches in girth and 45 inches long would weigh about 180 pounds:

(40 x 40 x 45) / 400 = 180

If the pig is less than 150 pounds, you adjust the formula by adding 6 to your result.

(girth x girth x length) / 400  + 6 = weight in pounds

So, a slightly smaller pig, 35 inches in girth and 32 inches long would be 104 pounds:

(35 x 35 x 32) / 400 + 6 = 104

So there you go: your math and science lesson of the day. I hope I got the parentheses in the right places.

Now if only they were easier to catch...

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