Farm data analysis for lifetime performance components of sows and their predictors in breeding herds

Yuzo Koketsu, Ryosuke Iida

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Our objectives in this review are 1) to define the four components of sow lifetime performance, 2) to organize the four components and other key measures in a lifetime performance tree, and 3) to compile information about sow and herd-level predictors for sow lifetime performance that can help producers or veterinarians improve their decision making. First, we defined the four components of sow lifetime performance: lifetime efficiency, sow longevity, fertility and prolificacy. We propose that lifetime efficiency should be measured as annualized piglets weaned or annualized piglets born alive which is an integrated measure for sow lifetime performance, whereas longevity should be measured as sow life days and herd-life days which are the number of days from birth to removal and the number of days from date of first-mating to removal, respectively. We also propose that fertility should be measured as lifetime non-productive days, whereas prolificacy should be measured as lifetime pigs born alive. Second, we propose two lifetime performance trees for annualized piglets weaned and annualized piglets born alive, respectively, and show inter-relationships between the four components of the lifetime performance in these trees. Third, we describe sow and herd-level predictors for high lifetime performance of sows. An example of a sow-level predictor is that gilts with lower age at first-mating are associated with higher lifetime performance in all four components. Other examples are that no re-service in parity 0 and shorter weaning-to-first-mating interval in parity 1 are associated with higher fertility, whereas more piglets born in parity 1 is associated with higher prolificacy. It appears that fertility and prolificacy are independent each other. Furthermore, sows with high prolificacy and high fertility are more likely to have high longevity and high efficiency. Also, an increased number of stillborn piglets indicates that sows have farrowing difficulty or a herd health problem. Regarding herd-level predictors, large herd size is associated with higher efficiency. Also, herd-level predictors can interact with sow level predictors for sow lifetime performance. For example, sow longevity decreases more in large herds than small-to-mid herds, whereas gilt age at first-mating increases. So, it appears that herd size alters the impact of delayed gilt age at first-mating on sow longevity. Increased knowledge of these four components of sow lifetime performance and their predictors should help producers and veterinarians maximize a sow's potential and optimize her lifetime productivity in breeding herds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
JournalPorcine Health Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2020


  • Farm data
  • Fertility
  • Lifetime efficiency
  • Lifetime performance
  • Longevity
  • Prolificacy

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Farm data analysis for lifetime performance components of sows and their predictors in breeding herds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this