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Record Keeping Key to Determining Reasons for Death Loss of Sows and Removals From the Breeding Herd
Dr. Jennifer Brown - Prairie Swine Centre

Farmscape for December 15, 2022

Research conducted by the Prairie Swine Centre has helped demonstrate the value of detailed farm records in helping determine the reasons for death loss of sows and removal of sows from the breeding herd.
To better understand why sow deaths and sow removals are increasing, researchers with the Prairie Swine Center in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc, surveyed pork producers and followed up with on farm visits.
Dr. Jennifer Brown, a Research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, says studies have shown that mortality levels on farms have been increasing over the past 10 to 20 years and, as producers move to group housing, there is concern over increased sow removals due to lameness.

Clip-Dr. Jenifer Brown-Prairie Swine Centre:
A very common finding is that larger herds generally have higher mortality levels.
A secondary finding is that when producers go from stall housing to group gestation there's an increase in mortality.
Certainly, that's part of the challenge of going to a new system.
Another finding was that it's very hard to study sow mortality.
You can't actually just perform a study somewhere like Prairie Swine Centre.
You actually need farm records from multiple herds to get a full understanding of it and an epidemiological database.
So, we need to encourage barn staff to maintain and improve farm records in order to have a better understanding of what's going on, including performing necropsies on farms where it's possible or where there's some uncertainty about the causes of sows dying.
Part of that is keeping good records so we can identify what the actual mortality levels are distinguishing those losses from culling, for example when trying to maintain a parity distribution within a herd as compared to sows that are euthanatized on farm and what the reasons are for that as compared to spontaneous death losses.

Dr. Brown says, as the Canadian sow herd transitions from stalls to groups, there is some concern about the impact on sow mortality so good record keeping will be important in identifying best management practices to reduce mortality and minimise lameness.
For more visit Farmscape.Ca.
Bruce Cochrane.

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