NADIS BPEX Commentary – September 2010

UK - As part of the ongoing health and production monitoring, NADIS surveillance veterinary surgeons collect data on farrowing rates recorded on breeding herds within the surveyed population and the most recent results are shown in graphs 1 to 5, according to BPEX's monthly NADIS commentary for September 2010.
calendar icon 1 October 2010
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A number of features can be picked out from the annual trend lines shown in graph 1:

  1. The dip in fertility seen in late summer/autumn in 2007 and 2008 was not evident last year with levels actually rising through summer and early autumn before then declining towards the winter.
  2. The most recent three-monthly rolling average is 83.5 per cent - a level not seen since 2007 and more than two percentage points higher than the same period in 2009.
  3. There is a very dramatic drop in fertility recorded in the winter months of November 2009 to January 2010. Whilst this figure is distorted by some changes to the data collection system such that it only contains data collected for January, it is perhaps suggestive that sows suffered in the severe winter. Overall, herds have climbed out of this dip as the spring and summer have progressed.

Analysis of results in the last three months (including the last data input for each of the monitored herds) is undertaken looking at size, location, structure and management.

The data shows results for smaller herds (below 300 sows) have been better than their larger counterparts continuing the trend seen at the same time in 2009 (graph 2). Results by herd type have shown a developing trend over the last three years. Two years ago the best results were achieved by breeding only and breeder/weaner units. Since then breeding only farms within the population have deteriorated to below 77 per cent, whilst the breeder/feeder units have remained steady at around 84 per cent (graph 3).

The 2010 summer months represent the first time for the last three years that outdoor herds have outperformed indoor herds by some margin. It should be emphasised that this comparison does not take into account the very cold winter months when outdoor herds might have been expected to be more severely affected (graph 4). The previous year’s pattern of continuous flow production outperforming batch systems (when measured by fertility) has now been reversed and a gap has opened between straw and slatted systems that was previously not seen. Straw systems now have a small advantage over slatted systems on farrowing rate.

Regionally, the Midlands and South West England farms have the best results but the two major pig-keeping regions of North East England and East Anglia are very similar this year.

Farrowing rate is a measure of fertility – not productivity (which is measured by farrowing index). However, the two will often move together and efforts to improve fertility at the herd level would be expected to be reflected in rising output.

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