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What is the cost of a dead sow?

11 November 2021, at 10:06am

The production cost of dead sows is becoming a large concern in our industry. According to industry data, sow mortality has nearly doubled in the past 15 years to approximately 13%. Recent data from an industry expert really brings this cost into perspective.

Ron Ketchum is a swine industry professional with over 30 years experience in the business. Ron was a founder of Swine Management Services, a swine data analysis company that benchmarked sow and growing herd performance on their database of 1.5 million sows on approximately 900 farms. Ron is well known in the industry and recognized as a production expert, giving seminars and consulting all over the USA, Canada, and also overseas. Recently, SMS was sold to Metafarms, where Ron currently works.

The chart below shows the true cost of a dead sow to a producer. Extra labor and disposal costs are not included. All values are in USD. The values represent a 5-year industry average. In 2021, the costs are significantly higher.

The cost of a dead sow is, on average, between $996 USD per sow and $1275 USD per sow.

If we use the midpoint of approximately $1125 USD per sow, we can calculate the following:

  1. 2500 sow unit weaning 25 pigs per sow = 62,500 pigs per year
  2. 5% increase in sow mortality = 125 sows x $1125 USD per sow = $140,625
  3. Cost per pig = $140,625/ 62,500 pigs = $2.25 per pig weaned additional cost*

*This does NOT include the higher replacement rate or the zero value sows that the industry is experiencing.

Data from 41 Genesus customers for average sow mortality for calendar 2020 was 4.36%. A huge difference from our competitors. The reality is if you have high sow morality it’s not your management it’s your Genetics. Dead sows don’t produce pigs.