As we were coming up with a topic for the monthly column we were looking at some trend line charts we have been running for 11 years. The charts show pigs weaned per mated female per year average has gone from 21.28 to 25.40 pigs with the top 10% from 24.72 to 30.65 pigs. That is a gain of 4.12 and 5.93 pigs. Total born per mated female per year which are a measure of potential have gone from 27.59 to 33.00 pigs for all farm and from 30.78 to 36.94 pigs. That shows an improvement of 5.50 and 6.16 pigs’ potential over 11 years.
Genetic companies over the last few years have done a great job of selecting for larger litters, doing their part to get more pigs for the producers to work with. However, what have they done to save more of these pigs?
The trend line for percent stillborns over the last 11 years for all the farms has gone from 8.0% to 6.7% and the top 10% farms from 6.2% to 5.0% and pre-weaning mortality for all farms going from 13.1% to 14.1%, and the top 10% farms starting at 12.1% in 2005 going down to 9.9% in 2015. This shows the top farms are doing a much better job saving the extra pigs.
For this column, we choose 832 farms which have a total inventory of 1,577,367 females. Farms with health challenges the last 52 weeks were not removed from the data set, so farms with porcine epidemic diarrhea virus and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome or some other health challenge are still in the data used for the tables and charts.
To show the variation in production by the 832 farms for the last 52 weeks review Chart 1: Total born per female farrowed. The chart is set up with individual farms on the X-axis starting on the left with the lowest total born numbers going up to the highest farms. The Y-axis shows farms starting at nine pigs going up to 17 pigs total born per female farrowed. There are farms starting at less than 9.0 pigs with the top farm at 16.7 total born.
Stillborns are in Chart 2, Stillborn per female farrowed, and Chart 3, Percent stillborns. In both charts the same 832 farms are ranked by total born per female farrowed. The trend line is as total born goes up so do stillborns. However, there is still a lot of farm-to-farm variation. The chart shows farms as low as 0.1 pigs stillborns which is 1% and up to 2.5 pigs per litter which is 16% stillborns. Some of these high stillborn numbers may be farms that have had a health challenge. But even with a PRRS break how could a farm go 52 weeks averaging two-plus pigs per litter stillborn.
Pre-weaning mortality percent rises with total born
Looking at piglet death loss in Chart 4, Pre-weaning Mortality percent is set up with the X-axis being farms sorted by total born per female farrowed with the Y-axis showing a range of zero percent to 30% pre-weaning mortality percent. The trend line still shows as total born goes up so does pre-weaning mortality percent. However there is still a lot of farm-to-farm variation going from 2% to 30%-plus.
Chart 5, Piglet Survival percent, is a term we created a few years ago with formula of 100% - (stillborn % + pre-weaning mortality) = Piglet survival percent. The chart is set up the same way with farms with lowest total born per female farrowed to highest. As the chart shows, farms with lower number of pigs born have the highest piglet survival. However, still there is a large amount of variation farm-to-farm with some of the farms with very high total pigs born saving up to 90% or more of the pigs.
As total born per female farrowed increases by farm, pigs weaned per female farrowed has gone up as shown in Chart 6, Weaned per Female Farrowed. There are farms weaning fewer than nine pigs up to 14-plus pigs in the data set with the trend line being farms with higher total born are weaning more pigs per female farrowed.
To really look at potential review Table 1, Pigs weaned per mated female per year. The table is set up with pigs weaned on X-axis showing farms broke out by one-pig increments starting at >24 pigs going to >32 pigs. On the Y-axis is piglet survival which on line 1 is the actual for the 832 farms at 79.2% piglet survival. The line shows that 559 of the 832 farms were at > 24 pigs with 22 of those farms > 32 pigs. The table is designed to show if the farms were to improve piglet survival by 2% how many more farms would be at >24 pigs broke out by one-pig increments.
Currently there are 75 farms of the 832 over 30 pigs which would be 9% of the farms. If all the current farms moved piglet survival to 90% then 726 of the 832 farms would be over 24 pigs and the number of farms over 30 pigs would move to 345 farms which would be 41.5% of all the farms.
So where is your farm at on saving pigs in farrowing? You have probably invested in some of the high potential genetics and are getting more pigs. However, have you made necessary changes in farrowing house management to save those extra pigs? It may be time to get out of the box and make some changes in farrowing to save more of those extra pigs which will help lower the cost to produce a weaned pig.
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 contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We enjoy being a part of the National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview team.
Previous Production Preview columns can be found at NationalHogFarmer.com.