Sow Removal: An Important Component of Profitability
Pius B. Mwansa, Ph.D.
A breeding herd’s economic efficiency is known to have a direct relationship with sow removal or culling rates. High culling rates can be a concern to modern commercial herds because a smaller percentage of animals are producing in the most profitable parities. Considering production costs of raising replacements and prices of segregated early weaning (SEW) hogs, Stalder et al (2003) study found that a replacement gilt must remain in the breeding herd for three parities before reaching profitability. Good herd management requires a proper understanding of culling options for safeguarding the best herd parity profile for a given production system. This entails maintenance of a steady flow of replacements taking over the space of less productive sows while optimizing the overall performance of the herd. However, sow removal is not always at the control of the herd staff. Sows are removed from breeding herds for many reasons. From an economic perspective, sow removals fall into one of two categories: voluntary and involuntary. Simply put, when the staff are forced to dispose of the sow, the removal is involuntary and in most cases the reason for removal is due to a biological failure in the sow. When the staff chooses to remove the sow it is voluntary removal and in those cases the removal is mainly for economic reasons. The table below, though not exhaustive, shows the culling reasons grouped into the above-mentioned categories.
|Voluntary Reasons (economic)||Involuntary Reasons (biologic)|
References Rambo, Z, J, Torrson and M. E. Wilson. 2014. Managing sows for optimum retention. http://benchmark.farms.com/Popup_2014_managing_sows_for_optimum_retention.html Sehested, E. 1996. Economy of sow longevity. In: Proceedings of the Nordiska Jordbruksforskares Foreign Seminar 265-Longevity of sows. Danielsen, V. (Ed.) Denmark: Research Foulumn, pp 101-108. Stalder, K. J, Lacy C., CrossT, I., and Conatser M, S. 2003. Financial impact of average parity of culled females in a breed-to-wean swine operation using replacement gilt net present value analysis. J Swine Health Prod. 11(2):69-74.