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An Example of Management Failures and Disease

(78) The following sequence of events highlights how bad management and decisions can result in disasters.

The farm was a 500 sow herd where the management made the decision to expand from 500 to 600 sows through the purchase of gilts. Unfortunately the health status of the purchased gilts was not checked out and they infected the herd with atrophic rhinitis. To coincide with the herd expansion a decision was also made to develop a building programme which was not completed in time. The number of breeding females increased and so did the stocking densities in the service area resulting in poor hygiene and stress with increases in services and boar usage. The increased number of services resulted in high numbers of animals farrowing with no increase in farrowing accommodation. Finally the resulting shortened lactation length, due to shortage of farrowing accommodation, caused ascending vaginal infection and endometritis post-service. This together with the increased boar usage and poor hygiene resulted in a major infertility problem. The increased throughput of sows through the farrowing houses resulted in major scour problems which together with the poor hygiene increased the severity of the rhinitis. The shortened lactation length together with the scour precipitated post-weaning problems, increased stocking density and further increased problems with rhinitis. The final insult was the fact that the shortened lactation length resulted in poor litter size. The end result therefore of the original management decisions resulted in a herd with severe rhinitis, low litter size, increased pre-weaning mortality, heavy discharges and an infertility problem. The farm went out of business.

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