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The use and interpretation of records

The causes of infertility cannot be determined and corrective action taken without collecting reliable information and using it in a meaningful way. Records required for each breeding female to understand reproductive failure:

  • The sow number.
  • The number of litters or parity.
  • The dates of mating, farrowing and weaning.
  • The number of services at each mating.
  • The service quality. (Rate each service as 1, 2 or 3 - good, moderate or poor).
  • The boar used or AI.
  • The lactation length.
  • Mummified piglets and their size.
  • The numbers born alive/dead.
  • The weaning to service interval.

Records required for the breeding herd

  • Litter size variation * (scatter).
  • Repeat matings - and their intervals in days.
  • Abortions - and the age of foetuses
  • Females found not in pig.
  • Discharges - The time when they occur post-service, observations and the outcome.
  • Parity distribution.

* Percentage of litters with total born (alive/dead/mummified) less than 9.

Whilst the above information looks rather daunting it is normally recorded in the mating book and on the sow and litter card on most farms. If a problem arises it is a simple procedure to identify the sows involved, collect the individual data and look for common features.

Fig.5-7 provides data against which your own farm performance can be related. These suggested targets and action levels for the various parameters are not absolute but rather broad guidelines.