Dive into total-pigs-born records for better production picture

Dive into total-pigs-born records for better production picture

Over the last few years we have started looking into total born in more detail. There are now 10 years of data in our Farm Benchmarking database which has seen total born per female farrowed go from 11.70 to 13.95 pigs, for a gain of 2.25 pigs. Farms in the Top 10% of the database are now at 14.90 pigs with a 10-year gain of 2.49 pigs. It has been interesting to watch how genetic companies have made changes in their selection programs that have caused the increase in total pigs.

To look at total born in more detail we selected 450 farms which have 907,859 sows in inventory. Farms that are new start-ups, repopulating or do parity segregation were not included in the selected farms. Also record programs that do not calculate farrow-to-farrow intervals were eliminated.

In Table 1 the data from the 450 farms is broke out. Farms were sorted by total born per female farrowed (Parity 1 plus Parity 2 plus Parity 3). Farms were grouped in to Top 10%, 10-30% (next 20%), 30-50% (next 20%), 50-70% (next 20%) and 70-100% (bottom 30%). The table includes average mated female inventory for each group including a maximum and minimum.

Total born per female farrowed is broke down by first three litters (P1 plus P2 plus P3), P1, P2, P3, wean to first service interval days by three parities, farrow-to-farrow interval by two parities, pigs weaned per mated female per year and average parity.

When you look at the data overall you see a lot of variation in numbers even size of farms in each grouping. The all line has 450 farms with size range of 238 females to 10,763 females with average size of 2,017 pigs. Even when you look at each grouping there is a large range in size of farms.

In looking at total born per female farrowed the data is broke out by the P1, P2 and P3, and the total for the first three parities. We were taught that the first litter total born is an indication of the female’s future performance so females with large first litters will produce more pigs in her lifetime. In looking at P2 females we were looking for the “sophomore slump” where there is a drop in total born for the second litter. However, if the P1 female was bred at the right weight and fed aggressively in farrowing she should have more pigs the second litter, usually 0.50+ pigs.

Sophomore slump? 

The “sophomore slump” is not normal; only 77 farms (17%) had a drop from P1 to P2 in the data set. The P3 female should see another increase in litter size of 0.50 to 1.0 pigs. Again, if the P2 female is fed properly during previous lactation and from breeding to weaning she should have more total born. In Table 1, the Top 10% was data from 45 farms that were at an average of 27.76 pigs weaned per mated female per year had an average for P1 at 14.88 pigs, P2 up to 15.66 and P3 up to 16.27 pigs, giving a total of 47.06 pigs for the first three litters. The increase from P1 to P2 was 0.78 pigs and from P2 to P3 was another 0.86 pigs.

When looking at the Bottom 30% which was 135 farms with average pigs weaned per mated female per year at 23.72 pigs broke down by parity has P1 total born at only 12.16 pigs, P2 increasing to 12.52 pigs which is only 0.42 pigs, and P3 at 13.11 pigs which was an increase of 0.59 pigs for a total of 37.79 pigs. When you compare the Top 10% at total born of 47.06 pigs with the Bottom 30% at 37.79 pigs, the difference is 9.27 pigs for the first three parities.

Chart 1, total born per female farrowed, divides the 450 farms out by total born per female farrowed (P1 plus P2 plus P3) first three parities on the X-axis starting with higher total born on the left side at 50 pigs down to 34 pigs. The total born is broken out by parity. The Y-axis is total born per female farrowed with a range of 10 to 18 pigs. The chart shows trends for farms with lower total born for the first three parities starting lower for all parities and has less increase between parities especially from P1 to P2. The chart shows some of the top farms with total born for P1s at 15-plus pigs, P2s at 16-plus pigs and P3s at 17-plus pigs.

Chart 2, wean to first service interval, shows a lot of variation in days. Table 1 has average wean to first service interval for P1 at 8.54 days with a range of 4.20 to 17.71 days. For P2 there’s an average of 6.39 with a range of 4.03 to 18.07 days, and P3 at 6.03 days average with range of 3.56 to 18.83 days. Chart 2 shows the trend line for farms with higher total born for three parities with lower days for weaned females to cycle even with these females producing more pigs.

Table 1 has the farrow-to-farrow interval for the 450 farms at 148.6 days for P2 females and down to 145.5 days for P3 females. In Chart 3 farrow-to-farrow interval, the linear line for P2 and P3 females increases as the total number of pigs for the first three litters drops.

As the table and charts show there is a large variation in total born per female farrowed for the 450 farms in the data set. Are you getting the true potential from the genetics you are currently using? Does your farm have the facilities and commit the labor to gilt development? What are your total born numbers? If you want to be one of those top producers you need to have enough pigs to work with and that starts with how the farm is managed.

SMS Production Index

Table 2 provides the 52-week rolling averages for 11 production numbers represented in the SMS Production Index. The numbers are separated by 90-100%, the 70-90%, the 50-70%, the 30-50% and the 0-30% groups. We also included the 13-week, 26-week and 12-quarter averages. These numbers represent what we feel are the key production numbers to look at to evaluate the farm’s performance.

At SMS, our mission statement is to provide “Information solutions for the swine industry”. We feel with the creation of different SMS Benchmarking databases for all production areas we now have more detailed information to share with the swine industry. If your farm would like to be part of the SMS Benchmarking databases, or if you have suggestions on production areas to write columns about, please email us at [email protected] or [email protected]. We enjoy being a part of the National Hog Farmer "Weekly Preview" team.

Previous Production Preview columns can be found at www.nationalhogfarmer.com.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.