Summary Of The 2009 Data

Fewer regional differences, but more variation is evident.
By Susan Olson

The 2009 PigCHAMP summaries for the United States and Canada show another year of improved productivity overall. The availability of vaccines to control Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome (PRRS) has likely had a major impact on production results. While productivity as a whole is better, we still see a wide range of performance between the upper and lower percentile in various production parameters. For example, the top 10% of U.S. farms have a total born per litter average of 14.18 (compared to 13.80 last year); the lower 10% of farms have a total born per litter average of 11.51 (compared to 11.67). So in reality, the variation was greater in 2009 in this parameter than it was in 2008. When looking at the charts below, keep in mind that "Upper 10 percentile" means the upper range for that production variable, not the upper percentile of farms. In other words, for variables such as Repeat Services (%), Stillbirths (%), Preweaning mortality (%), Annualized cull rate (%) and Annualized mortality rate (%), the lower the number the more favorable it is. For variables such as Pigs/mated female/year, Farrowing Rate (%), Born alive/litter, etc., the higher the number, the better.

The summary indices of most interest are the range of performance estimates. Take a look at the major indicators. Whether in Canada or the United States, there is a wide range of performance that is not explained by location. Moreover, the capability to reach high levels of productivity appears to be similar across both industries.

Recognizing that the capabilities to excel are similar and the design of sow units does not differ greatly, it is mostly a function of the management within the farms. It may be useful to start looking at the availability of skilled labor for estrus detection and breeding, inspection and treatment frequency for sick sows, and the general effects of genotype and housing methods.

As we look at future changes in the industry, it is clear that poor performing herds will not survive in any market. It may very well be that financial pressures in both the United States and Canada herds have encouraged producers to put more emphasis on management and cost control. Regardless of these variables, all farms should recognize opportunities to improve within the ranges shown by this database.

All summaries, past and present are also located on the PigCHAMP website, www.pigchamp.com/benchmarking. Spend some time comparing your own benchmark numbers to the ones shown here. Careful analysis should provide the map to making future improvements.

Editor’s Note: Susan Olson is the Knowledge Center Manager for PigCHAMP, Inc.