Mortality Patterns in a Commercial Wean-To Finish Swine Production System

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Mehling, Samantha
Henao-Diaz, Alexandra
Maurer, Jeremy
Kluber, Ed
Stika, Rachel
Rademacher, Christopher
Zimmerman, Jeff
Holtkamp, Derald
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Giménez-Lirola, Luis
Associate Professor
Karriker, Locke
Morrill Professor
Linhares, Daniel
Associate Professor
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Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine
The mission of VDPAM is to educate current and future food animal veterinarians, population medicine scientists and stakeholders by increasing our understanding of issues that impact the health, productivity and well-being of food and fiber producing animals; developing innovative solutions for animal health and food safety; and providing the highest quality, most comprehensive clinical practice and diagnostic services. Our department is made up of highly trained specialists who span a wide range of veterinary disciplines and species interests. We have faculty of all ranks with expertise in diagnostics, medicine, surgery, pathology, microbiology, epidemiology, public health, and production medicine. Most have earned certification from specialty boards. Dozens of additional scientists and laboratory technicians support the research and service components of our department.
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Modern commercial pig production is a complex process that requires successful producers to understand and resolve factors associated with perturbations in production. One important perturbation is inventory loss due to mortality. In this study, data on 60 lots of approximately 2000 weaned pigs (n = 115,213) from one commercial production system were collected through the wean-to-finish (WTF) cycle with the objective of establishing patterns of mortality, estimating differences in profit/loss among patterns of mortality, and identifying production practices associated with mortality patterns. Information provided by the production system included the number of pigs in each lot at the time of placement (beginning inventory), weaning weight, barn dimensions, number of dead pigs (NDP) daily, capacity placed (proportion pigs actually placed versus what had been planned to be placed) and average weight sold. Analysis of NDP revealed three mortality patterns (clusters I, II, III) composed of 6, 40, and 14 lots, respectively, that differed in the temporal onset and/or level of mortality. Average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion ratio (FCR) were calculated by growth phase for each cluster. An economic model showed profit differences among clusters due to poor biological performance by clusters I and III in the late finishing phase. Cluster II (n = 40) had fewer dead pigs and the highest profit compared to clusters I (n = 6) and III (n = 14). Area per pig (stocking density) was the only factor associated with the differences in mortality patterns. Routine monitoring and the analysis of mortality patterns for associations with production and management factors can help swine producers improve biological performance and improve profit.


This article is published as Mehling, Samantha, Alexandra Henao-Diaz, Jeremy Maurer, Ed Kluber, Rachel Stika, Christopher Rademacher, Jeff Zimmerman, Luis Giménez-Lirola, Chong Wang, Derald J. Holtkamp, Rodger Main, Locke Karriker, Daniel C.L. Linhares, Mary Breuer, Christa Goodell, and David Baum. "Mortality Patterns in a Commercial Wean-To-Finish Swine Production System." Veterinary Sciences 6, no. 2 (2019): 49. DOI: 10.3390/vetsci6020049. Posted with permission.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2019