# Gilts are your future; invest in their daily care

The future of your farm is dictated by your gilt development protocols. Are gilts housed in the best building or the worst building on the farm? Do they have someone taking care of them daily or are they mostly ignored? This is our 119th column and the one thing we have learned from all the research we have done on our database is that gilt (Parity 1) performance dictates the future performance of your hog farm.

We have chosen 654 farms with an inventory of 1.170 million mated females for this column. The farms had to be at more than 25 total born per mated female per year and have a gilt farrowing rate over 75%.

In Chart 1, P1 farrowing rate versus total born per mated female per year, farrowing rate is set up on the left axis and total born per mated female per year on the right axis. The farms are sorted by P1 farrowing rate from lowest P1 farrowing rate to the highest from left to right. There is a lot of variation in total born per mated female per year, but the trend line shows a direct correlation to P1 farrowing rate. The trend line starts at 82% on the left and 90% for the top performing farms. The range in farrowing rate for P1 was 75.0% to 98.0% with total born per mated female per year from 26.1 to 40.9 pigs.

Chart 2, P1 total born per female farrowed versus total born per mated female per year. It looks at P1 total born per female farrowed on the left axis and total born per mated female per year on the right axis. Total born per female farrowed had a range of 11.2 to 15.8 pigs. However there is a lot of variation in total born per mated female per year, but the trend line shows even a stronger correlation. The higher the total born per female farrowed the better the whole farm performance will be.

## Farm influence on P1 rate

To see if farm size has any influence on P1 farrowing rate or total born per females farrowed look at Table 1, which looks at total born per mated female per year. Farm size was divided up into eight categories starting with 199-500 females and ending with farms at 6,501-plus females.

The table shows only a little impact. There is an improvement in total born per mate female per year for farms over 4,500 mated females with the four largest farm being the highest at 37.91. P1 farrowing rate shows a slight improvement for the largest farms, but it is not significant. P1 total born per female farrowed shows an increase for the larger farms with the four largest farms at 14.47 total born per female farrowed.

What is your farm doing to improve performance of your gilts? Have you invested some money and have people who spend time in the gilt development unit? Do your gilts get boar exposure on a daily bases when it is time to start checking for heat? Do you record the gilts’ heat cycles? Does your farm take time to expose gilts to a gestation crate before breeding? Do you have a minimum breeding age and minimum weight for gilts before breeding?

To make it simple the gilts need to have at least one recorded skip heat, had crate exposure for at least 10-plus days and weight at least 300 pounds before breeding. Is your farm ready for the future?

## 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 e-mail [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 NationalHogFarmer.com.