How productive sows are during their lifetimes has sizeable economic and animal welfare implications for the U.S. pork industry. That’s why the Pork Checkoff created the Sow Lifetime Productivity Task Force to chart a "road map" of research tactics to improve sow retention rates and pig survival. The task force, made up of leading industry experts, has set a goal of improving sow lifetime productivity by 30% over the next seven years, according to Chris Hostetler, director of animal science for the Pork Checkoff.
The task force recommends research priorities be concentrated on three main areas:
1) Increasing sow life in the herd through focused research on increasing average number of parities per sow and decreasing herd fall-out in the early parities.
2) Increasing the number of pigs weaned per litter through improved litter size at birth and decreased pre-wean mortality.
3) Optimizing gilt development and retention to increase lifetime productivity.
The spring issue of Pork Checkoff Report, available on pork.org online March 1, will include an in-depth look at how the pork industry is charting a course toward improved show lifetime productivity.
For more information, contact Chris Hostetler at CHostetler@pork.org or at (515) 223-2606.