What has SMS done with KPIs over time?

Data reveals increasing problem with female death loss percentage over time.

Ron Ketchem, Mark Rixand 1 more

December 2, 2020

8 Min Read
What has SMS done with KPIs over time?
National Pork Board

As I work on this article and the next few on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), I’m thinking about the year of 2020. It’s been a year of a worldwide human pandemic, political unrest, presidential election, higher unemployment, lack of labor for the pig industry, African swine fever outbreaks in several parts of the world and higher individual stress on everyone.   We are all hoping that the vaccines for COVID-19 will help get all the world back to what will be the new normal. I hope the pork industry will soon have a chance to get back together and start working to improve the industry and doing what we do best— producing a high-quality protein for the world.  

At SMS, we started farm benchmarking in 2005 at 150 farms with 250,000 sows.  In 2009, we introduced the SMS Production Index that was based on eight KPIs: pigs weaned/mated female, litters/mated female/year, wean to first service interval, pigs weaned/mated female farrowed, female death loss percentage, farrowing rate percentage, total born/female farrowed and piglet survival percentage. The one not known by the swine industry was piglet survival, which we create with the calculation of 100% - (stillborn pig percentage+ pre-weaning mortality percentage). 

In the first article, we wrote about KPIs. “Eight Performance Indicators Drive Production Index Summary” was published in February 2012. Very interesting numbers emerged from a set of 750 farms, ranging in size from of 300-6,000 sows for a total of 1,282,208 females. Pigs weaned/mated female/year averaged 24.53 pigs, with the Top 10% at 28.97 pigs. Total pigs born/female farrowed averaged 13.31 pigs, with the Top 10% at 14.40 pigs. Pigs weaned/female farrowed averaged at 10.43 pigs, with the Top 10% at 11.66 pigs. Farrowing rate average was 85.1%, with the Top 10% at 90.3%, and the female death loss average was 7.7%. 

Starting in July 2013, we changed the SMS Production Index from eight to 11 production numbers.  We added total born / mated female/year to reflect potential farms have, total pigs born/female – P1, total pigs born / female (P1+P2+P3) to reflect how females at farm are managed through their first three litters, gilt farrowing rate percentage and retention percentage (100% - (P1-P2-P3 cull & death loss percentage)). We dropped out total born/female farrowed, and pigs weaned/mated female farrowed from the original eight production numbers. At that time, there were 835 farms with 1,449,188 mated females in the data tables.  Pigs weaned/mated female averaged 24.82 pigs, with the Top 10% at 29.73 pigs. Total pigs born/female farrowed averaged 13.47 pigs, with the Top 10% at 14.47 pigs. Pigs weaned/female farrowed averaged 10.56 pigs, with the Top 10% at 11.77 pigs. Farrowing rate percentage averaged at 84.8%, with the Top 10% at 90.6%, and the female death loss percentage averaged at 7.4%, with Top 10% at 6.7%.  Three of the new index numbers showed total born/mated female/year average at 32.24 pigs with range of <20 pigs up to >40 pigs. total pigs born/female - P1 average at 12.78 pigs with range of <10 pigs up to >15 pigs. Total pigs born/female-P1+P2+P3 average was 40.01 pigs with range of <25 pigs up to >45.0 pigs. 

In November 2013, we made another major change in how we break out the farm data from all farms by including Top 10%, Top 25%, which had the Top 10% included, and Bottom 25%. We moved to separating out farms by Top 90-100 percentile (Top 10%), 70-90 percentile (Next 20%), 50-70 percentile (Next 20%), 30-50 percentile (Next 20%), and 0-30 percentile (Bottom 30%), with no farm represented in more than one category. 

Table 1: SMS Farm Benchmarking, which is the last 52 weeks, has 941 farms with a total of 1,832,828 mated females. Pigs weaned/mated female/year average improved to 26.61 pigs, with the Top 10% at 32.22 pigs and Bottom 30% at 22.47 pigs,  Total born/mated female/year average at 34.72 pigs, with the Top 10% at 39.31 pigs and Bottom 30% at 31.10 pigs, Piglet survival averaged at 78.7%, with the Top 10% at 84.2% and Bottom 30% at 74.9%, Farrowing rate average at 85.0%, with the Top 10% at 90.2% and Bottom 30% at 79.6%. Female death loss averaged at 10.3%, with Top 10% at 8.0% and Bottom 30% at 11.8%, Gilt farrowing rate averaged at 84.0%, with the Top 10% at 90.2% and Bottom 30% at 78.5%. Total pigs born/female farrowed - P1 averaged at 13.99 pigs, with the Top 10% at 15.01 pigs and Bottom 30% at 13.48 pigs. Retention percentage (100% - (P1-P2-P3 culls and deaths)) averaged at 63.4%, with the Top 10% at 63.0% and Bottom 30% at 61.6%.   Remember that each column is that set of farms’ averages.

What has been the improvement in some key KPIs from 2012 to 2020? Pigs weaned/mated female in 2012 averaged 24.53 pigs, with the Top 10% at 28.97 pigs. The 2020 average improved to 26.61 pigs, with the Top 10% at 32.22 pigs. Farrowing rate average in 2012 was 85.1% and nearly unchanged in 2020 at 85.0%. The female death loss average in 2012 was 7.7% but increased to 10.3% in 2020, revealing an increasing problem that the industry has with female death loss percentage over time.

The following four charts reflect the changes in the SMS data base starting in 2005 and ending 2019. 

In Chart 1: Pigs weaned/mated female/year shows all farms (red line) have improved from 21.3 to 26.5 pig, with the Top 10% farms (burgundy line) going from 24.7 to 32.1 pigs, up 7.40 pigs.

Chart 1 Ketchum Dec. 2.png

Chart 2: Total born/mated female/year shows all farms (red line) starting at 27.59 pigs to 34.74 pigs, with the Top 10% farms (burgundy line) starting at 30.78 pigs and rising to a potential of 39.08 pigs.

Chart 2 Ketchum Dec. 2.png

Chart 3: Farrowing rate for all farms (red line) rose from 79.7% to 85.0%, with the Top 10% farms (burgundy line) starting at 85.9% and rising to 90.5%. 

Chart 3 Ketchum Dec. 2.png

Chart 4:  Female death loss percentage for all farms (red line) started in 2006 at 9.2% and decreased to 7.2% in 2010. It is back up to 10.0%, with the Top 10% farms (burgundy) starting at 5.9%, rising to 7.4% in 2008, decreasing to 5.8% in 2014, increasing to 8.3% in 2018 and then falling to 7.7% in 2019. 

Chart 4 Ketchum Dec. 2.png

How much has your farm changed? 

Over the next few months, we want to get into more detail looking at the 11 KPIs listed below:

  • Pigs weaned/mated female/year

  • Total born/mated female/year

  • Piglet Survival (100- (stillborn percentage + pre-weaning mortality percentage))

  • Litters/mated female/year

  • Wean to first service interval days

  • Farrowing rate percentage

  • Female death loss percentage

  • Gilt farrowing rate percentage

  • Total born/female farrowed (P1+P2+P3)

  • Total born/female farrowed (P1)

  • Retention percentage (100% - (P1+P2+P3 culls & deaths loss))

We feel that farm need to develop their own list of KPIs, with the help of the farm crew, in order to monitor monthly data and compare to other sow farms. The farm should pick out 2-3 of the key KPIs and develop a plan to improved them, be able to measure and monitor progress timely. What is your farm’s KPIs?

The end of 2020 is coming, and most of us are ready to put this year behind us. We at SMS wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. We are now looking at what is going to happen in 2021. Thanks for reading our articles. We hope they are of value to pork producers, allied industry and supports of pork production. 

Table 1 provides the 52-week rolling averages for the 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 properly evaluate the farm’s performance.

Table 1 SMS Dec. 2.png

At SMS, our mission statement is to provide “Information solutions for the swine industry.”  We feel that 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 articles about, please e-mail or call us.  We enjoy being a part of the National Hog Farmer NHF Daily team.  Previous columns can be found at NationalHogFarmer.com.

If you have questions or comments about these columns, or if you have a specific performance measurement that you would like us to write about, please contact Mark Rix, Ron Ketchem, or Connor Sharp.

Sources: Ron Ketchem, Mark Rix and Connor Sharp, who are solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly own the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

About the Author(s)

Ron Ketchem

Swine Management Services

Mark Rix

Swine Management Services LLC

Connor Sharp

Swine Management Services

Sharp is an Omaha, Neb., native, and joins the SMS/MetaFarms team after having spent the past five years with Standard Nutrition Services — a livestock nutrition and production management company based in Omaha. Serving in a variety of roles — from slat-level to boardroom-level — Sharp has a unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing the swine industry. Agriculture is near and dear to his heart, as his family and relatives are deeply rooted in Nebraska farming and livestock and have been for generations.

Prior to finding his passion for swine, Sharp spent five-plus years in the financial advisory industry. This background provides a valuable depth of knowledge and understanding of factors that drive corporate decisions within a business operation.

He is an active member of the Omaha community. Giving back has always been something of importance and he continues to serve on boards of directors of various charitable organizations. When not working, Sharp enjoys spending time with his wife, Andra, and their two boys, Jeffrey and Wilson.

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