Producer Survey Examines Factors that Lead to Culling of Sows

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Farmscape for October 13, 2020

Full Interview 10:03 Listen

Canadian pork producers are being encouraged to participate in a national survey designed to identify the factors that contribute to sow mortality on the farm and culling and come up with strategies to reduce those losses. The University of Saskatchewan, the Prairie Swine Centre, the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement and the Centre de développement du porc du Québec, in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc are conducting a survey of farm factors related to sow management and culling.
Dr. Jennifer Brown, a Research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, says the survey includes about 40 questions designed to gather information on what’s happening on Canadian farms.

Clip-Dr. Jennifer Brown-Prairie Swine Centre:
We’ve noticed, not just here in Canada but across the world, numbers of sow mortality, deaths on farm and then euthanasia on farm, has been increasing over the last decade or more. This is very costly to pork producers and it’s been observed that almost 50 percent of the sow losses are in younger animals and we definitely know that a sow needs to be retained in a herd at least three parities before she actually pays for her replacement cost. The loss of these animals is costly to producers and then it’s very concerning that the numbers are increasing. Often on farms our record keeping methods are not the greatest and sometimes they’re not consistent from one herd to another, how you record cull sows, sows that die on farm or euthanasia and usually the cause of death is unknown or not recorded very well.
Starting with the survey we’re looking at farm factors and how they relate to the mortality levels on farm to do an initial analysis of the factors that might be related to higher mortality in herds.

Dr. Brown says the COVID situation has impact participation so researchers are hoping for more responses to the survey.

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