December 4, 2022

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Young pigs are a major contributor to mortality in the United States

Young pigs are a major contributor to mortality in the United States

Gilts and first- and second-part sows account for 35 to 50 percent losses in American sows. This is evident from a study of management systems such as Swine Management Systems (SMS) and Metaforms.

This review of those management systems was done by Ron Ketchem and Mark Riggs, analysts at 30 & Up Consulting and Metaforms, respectively. They posted the statistics on the National Hog Farmer website. The SMS dataset contains 282 farms with approximately 30,000 gilts and more than 570,000 sows.

Produces 28.41 piglets per year per sow. Mortality of pigs was 10.72 percent. On average, 46.13 percent of seeds are replaced per year. More than a third of this number are equivalent seeds ranging from 0 (gilts) to 2. where 0 represents gilts, then first and second births, for a total of three years.

Of the 10.72 percent pig mortality, 50 percent appears to be due to young pigs. Adding those two numbers together, researchers say 80 percent of pigs don’t make it to the third litter. Sows from the third to fifth part give birth to more piglets, which can be disastrous for outcomes. They think they can work on it.

It would be better to record the reason

Data on dysfunction are analyzed in more detail. There is a difference between murder, death and euthanasia. For this purpose, the researchers used data from more than 1.5 million seeds from the MetaFarms project. They note that recording the reason for failure or euthanasia could be improved.

Six categories were created: health problems, fertility, production results, feet, nutritional and intestinal health problems and finally the other category: injuries, management or unclear or missing causes.

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Fertility reason for discharge

Fertility is the main reason for the number of litters: production results are not very important at the beginning when taking 0 to 2 to slaughter, but logically they become so with older pigs. In 25 percent of the gilts, the discharge was of a different type, so it was not clear why they were slaughtered. Footwork, health or feeding problems account for only 7 percent of culling of young pigs.

In terms of dead pigs, health problems were the most important cause for 37 percent of young pigs, but here again the category was different, about 25 percent. Fertility problems account for 16.5 percent of piglet deaths. Together, young seedlings cause 50 percent mortality.

Euthanasia by footwork

Footwork problems are the leading cause of euthanasia in over 44 percent of pigs. More than half of this is accounted for by pigs between 0 and 2. The second most important reason for euthanasia was infertility at over 25 percent and health problems was the third at 12.5 percent.

Based on the analysis, the researchers conclude that more attention is needed to rearing and feeding young pigs to prevent premature mortality. This means that those seeds need extra attention from management and staff.