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Is Your Operation Average?

Ron Bazylo, Swine Specialist, Swan River MB

Some hog producers think record keeping is troublesome and time consuming. There are a number of different record-keeping systems available to a swine producer. One that is used by a large number of producers is the Pigchamp program.

It is one thing to keep records but is another thing to be able to analyze them. For example, if the weaning-to-first service interval were 5.6 days this would be considered ideal. However if the interval was approaching 7.3 days for instance this should trigger a red flag. Was this due to a larger number of first litter sows being weaned? If not, the producer may want to check the quality of his lactation feed. This has occurred on some operations as a result of lighter weight barley being fed. If the feed hasn't changed, the producer should look at feed intake and look at things like room temperature and water flow. This is just one example of how records may be utilized.

Below are some figures compiled from 213 farms on the Pigchamp system, from across Canada, as reported for 1998. It reports the average of these farms and what the top 10% of the farms are doing.

ACTIVITY

AVERAGE

UPPER 10%

Sows bred by seven days

89.3

95.2

Weaning-to-first-service interval

6.7

5.2

Average pigs born alive/litter

10.6

11.3

Litters/mated female/year

2.31

2.40

Pigs weaned/litter

9.3

10.1

Average age at weaning

21.3

16.4

Pigs weaned/mated female/year

21.5

24.4

These are just some of the parameters and reports that are available when records are kept. Most programs also have growth and feed efficiency reports for market pigs.

The important thing is that producers first have to be keeping records. Secondly, they then can compare what the averages are. If they are above the average, great, but if they are below average, then management decisions can be made so improvements can take place.

For further information on record-keeping systems, contact your local Agriculture Representative's office or nearest Swine Specialist.


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