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Prolonged Duration of Farrowing is Associated with Subsequent Decreased Fertility in Sows

04 April 2013

Sows with prolonged farrowing had higher returns after first insemination after weaning, according to new research from Finland. There were no effects on other parameters of fertility measured, nor of sow housing system (crate versus pen).

In modern swine production, failure of sows to become pregnant within the expected time after weaning results in major economic loss and culling of sows, according to Claudio Oliviero and co-authors at the University of Helsinki in Saarentaus, Finland.

The objective of their study, published recently in Theriogenology, was to determine the effects of duration of farrowing on subsequent repeat breeding rate. The study was performed in a commercial sow-pool piggery system in Finland comprising 148 sows (Yorkshire × Landrace).

A multivariate analysis was undertaken on data for parity, weaning to oestrus interval, boar, number of inseminations, season, sow back-fat thickness, gestation length, duration of farrowing, number of live-born piglets, number of stillborn piglets, lactation length and number of piglets weaned.

Furthermore, two farrowing systems (crate versus pen) were investigated.

A binary logistic regression was used to analyse the effect of these factors on the repeat breeding rate (pregnant versus not pregnant at first insemination after weaning).

The total duration of previous farrowing was longer in re-bred sows (357 ± 207 minutes, average ± SD) than in pregnant sows (255 ± 126 minutes; P<0.01).

The other parameters were not statistically significant to the outcome of first insemination after weaning.

The Helsinki-based group concluded that sows with long duration of farrowing have higher repeat breeding rate at the first insemination after weaning and that this could be used as an indicator for subsequent fertility.


Oliviero C., S. Kothe, M. Heinonen, A. Valros and O. Peltoniemi. 2013. Prolonged duration of farrowing is associated with subsequent decreased fertility in sows. Theriogenology. 79(7):1095–1099. doi:10.1016/j.theriogenology.2013.02.005

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April 2013

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