Scientists Seek Strategies to Reduce Sow Mortality

Nov 02, 2020
Researchers working on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc are examining how different sow management practices may contribute to increasing levels of culling.
A multi institutional team of scientists working in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc is evaluating factors related to sow management and culling.
As part of that effort Canadian pork producers are invited to participate in a national survey designed to identify the factors that contribute to sow mortality and culling and come up with strategies to reduce those losses.
Dr. Jennifer Brown, a Research Scientist Ethology with the Prairie Swine Centre, says sow mortality, deaths on farm and euthanasia on farm, have been increasing around the world over the last decade or more.
Clip-Dr. Jennifer Brown-Prairie Swine Centre:
We tried to keep the number of questions down and we've got approximately 40 questions on the survey.
It needs to determine what are the mortality levels and what is known about causes but also, we need fairly detailed information on the farm and management practices.
Are sows in groups or in stalls?
There's also been some thoughts around bump feeding and the relationship to mortality or water quality so all of these questions went into the survey.
One problematic aspect of it is that, 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 or sows that die on farm or euthanasia and usually the cause of death is unknown or not recorded very well.
So, starting with the survey we're going to look 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 survey results will be analyzed to determine how different management practices relate to sow losses on farms in Canada.
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