As we work with farms to improve pigs weaned/mated female/year (PW/MF/Y), we continue to look at the interaction of key performance indicators. For this article, we will focus on wean-to-first service interval, which is the time it takes a weaned female to return to heat and be bred....More
We decided to drill down a little deeper into the equation for pigs weaned/mated female/year (PW/MF/Y), which is litters weaned/mated female/year x pigs weaned/female farrowed.
In this article, we will look at the litters weaned/mated female/year portion of the equation....More
To compare the value of feeding natural vs. synthetic vitamin E, Kansas State University (KSU) researchers used 126 PIC gilts and sows and their litters to determine the effect of vitamin E level and source on sow plasma, milk and piglet tissue concentrations of α-tocopherol (a naturally occurring compound found in a variety of foods that provides concentrations of vitamin E)....More
Spermatozoa from some boars can be frozen more successfully than others. In a Mississippi State University Study, a two-dimensional differential in gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) was used to analyze the total protein contents (proteome) of fertile boar spermatozoa known as “poor freezers” or “good freezers.”...More
An international consortium made up of more than 50 university, industry and government laboratories in the United States, Europe and Asia worked for more than 10 years to produce a detailed annotation of the pig genome....More
Whether due to lameness or unproductivity, culling sows is a frequent event on most hog farms. Because it is not a daily task, it is not given the emphasis and training needed to effectively manage this neglected profit center, says Terry Whiting, DVM, manager of Animal Health and Welfare, Manitoba Agriculture and Rural Initiatives....More
Why is it that whenever you mix unfamiliar sows or pigs in a group a fierce battle ensues?
It’s in their genes. Pigs are hard-wired to establish a hierarchy when placed in the near proximity of others. That’s the conclusion USDA livestock behavioral specialist Jeremy Marchant-Forde offered at a sow housing workshop during the Leman Swine Conference recently. But he adds a caveat: Given a choice, they might just avoid the altercation altogether. At least, that’s what their ancestors would do....More
As we continue to look at the seasonal effects on performance of a select set of farms in the Swine Management Services database, this week we will focus on total number born and weaned by farrowing crate, by weaning age and by female farrowed....More
Have you ever taken a look at seasonal effects on key performance indicators such as percent repeat services, farrowing rate, farrow-to-farrow interval, litters farrowed/mated female/year or litter farrowed/crate/year?...More
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have discovered a way for producers to quickly measure a newborn piglet’s nursing ability and increase odds of survival in at-risk piglets.
Physiologist Jeffrey Vallet and fellow scientists at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, NE, developed a measuring technique called “immunocrit,” which determines whether young piglets receive adequate sow colostrum....More
National headlines are proclaiming a bacon shortage and grocery stores and bacon-burger restaurants may already be raising prices, according to a post Wednesday by Illinois blogger Stu Ellis.
In short, the headlines may push consumers away from even checking prices in the meat case, assuming that bacon is too expensive to afford for a family trying to survive the recession. But what is the real situation with regard to the availability of pork products?...More
When artificial insemination is used, it is imperative that the stockperson learn to simulate the actions of the boar. The more the boar is allowed to stimulate the female, the greater the chances of producing a standing response. When stimulation is provided effectively, estrus lasts longer and ovulation is greater.
In the last few months, we have fielded numerous calls and reviewed a lot of farm data to take a hard look at why there is so much variation in farrowing rate between farms and weeks of the year....More
University of California researchers probed multiple studies of nutrient requirements in sows during lactation to learn how factors such as litter size and piglet weight gain affect milk production in sows.
Researchers were investigating better ways to model milk yield. Current models only predict average milk yield, but milk yield changes during lactation. Plus, a sow’s nutrient requirements also vary during lactation, meaning it is important to have reliable milk yield predictions....More
I recently attended a conference where there was considerable discussion about the variation between farms and production companies in cost of production. A common thought among attendees was that the variation in cost of production has been reduced as current technologies, such as genetics and housing, have been widely adopted and the industry consolidated...More
An Advanced Swine Reproduction Seminar is being offered at two locations to help pork producers perform at a higher level of management for preparing the sow and farrowing space, knowing when/how to assist farrowing sows, managing sows to maximize feed intake and more....More
Preweaning mortality is influenced by several factors affecting the sow and her litter. These factors include disease, environment, neonatal pig care, equipment design and nutrition. If we assume the sows are healthy and located in a comfortable environment at farrowing, then the piglet becomes the likely focus to reduce death losses....More
The U.S. sow herd experiences a greater than 50% replacement rate annually, an average parity at culling of 3.5 to 3.8 and fewer than 40 pigs produced during a sow’s lifetime, according to Ken Stalder, an Iowa State University animal science professor, who has reviewed available databases.
The five most common reasons sows leave the herd are:
1) Reproductive failure
2) Feet and leg soundness
5) Postweaning issues
When we looked at the Swine Management Services (SMS) database for the last 52 weeks, the average farrowing rate for 754 farms was 85%, with the top 10% of farms at 90.3% and the bottom 25% at only 79.2%...More
Sixty-four-year-old pork producer Robert Dircks has striven all of his life to build a progressive hog operation that achieves top production and high herd health that makes it a joy to raise pigs in southeast Iowa...More