10 non-negotiables to solve sow mortalities

Sow mortality can be crippling to a production system, but the production effects of sow death loss can be multiplied as producers may be forced to keep animals that would normally be culled to enable them to hit production numbers.

Discussion of sow mortalities has been a recent hot topic, as losses have increased over the past five years. Brad Leuwerke and Henry Johnson, veterinarians with the Swine Vet Center in St. Peter, Minn., led a session on this concern during the recent Minnesota Pork Congress.

Sow mortality can be crippling to a production system, but the production effects of sow death loss can be multiplied as producers may be forced to keep animals that would normally be culled to enable them to hit production numbers. When sow death loss continues to increase, producers become restricted to cull only the most severe animals rather than those that should be culled.

Lameness, feet and legs are a huge driver of sow mortality on farms, and prolapses are also big factors for some farms, but Leuwerke and Johnson say no clear causes of prolapses have been found to date.

Leuwerke and fellow SVC veterinarian Laura Bruner recently summarized the cost of prolapses based on record analysis from a 2,500 sow farm of an SVC client. This analysis showed a cost of roughly $34 per inventoried sow or $850 per prolapsed sow.

It’s clearly been established that sow death losses have been on the rise, and for a variety of reasons, but what can be done? Leuwerke and Johnson cannot stress enough the importance of “getting the basics right.”

In that vein, the Swine Vet Center has establish this list of 10 “non-negotiables” when it comes to sow care. Click through the following slides for a scorecard of sorts for your operation.

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