The level of productivity of sows during their lifetimes has significant economic and animal welfare implications for the U.S. pork industry.

To capture that potential, the Pork Checkoff created the Sow Lifetime Productivity Task Force to follow research advancements that can be optimized in the areas of sow retention rates and pig survival.

The task force, comprised of leading industry experts, has set a goal of improving sow lifetime productivity by 30% over the next seven years, according to Chris Hostetler, director of animal science at the National Pork Board.

The task force recommends the focus of research priorities should be on three main areas:

  • Increasing sow life in the herd through focused research on increasing average number of parities per sow and decreasing herd fall-out in the early parities.
  • Increasing the number of pigs weaned per litter through improved litter size at birth and decreased pre-wean mortality.
  • Optimizing gilt development and retention to increase lifetime productivity.

Learn more about this subject in the spring issue of Pork Checkoff Report, available at  online March 1, which will offer an in-depth look at how the pork industry is charting a course toward improved sow lifetime productivity.

For more information, contact Hostetler at or at (515) 223-2606.