Canadian vs US sow herd productivity

A few weeks ago I reviewed the MetaFarms 2016 wean-finish growth data. Today I want to take a look at MetaFarms comparison of Canadian vs US sow herd productivity for 2016. The MetaFarms sow performance data for 2016 is based on data for 613.8 thousand females (10.3% of the June 1, 2016 USDA estimated breeding herd inventory) for the US data and 117.3 thousand females (9.4% of the Canadian July 1, 2016 estimated breeding herd inventory).

US producers average 25.1 pigs weaned per mated female per year while Canadian producers averaged 26.4 pigs weaned per mated female per year. This greater number of pigs weaned per female for the Canadian herd has been a consistent trend, both in MetaFarms data and in PigCHAMP data series.
Reasons for the difference are buried in the data. Consider that the average farrowing interval for US herds was 146.7 days while it was 144.7 for Canadian herds. Total born alive for both US and Canadian herds was 12.7 pigs. Prewean mortality was 13.1% for US herds and 13.0% for Canadian herds. Wean age was 19.8 days for US herds and 20.4 days for Canadian herds. Gestation length continues to lengthen at 115.9 days and 115.5 days for US and Canadian herds.

Average parity at culling was 4.1 for US and 4.4 for Canadian herds. Replacement rate was 63.1% for US and 57.2% for Canadian herds.

A couple of things come to mind when looking at these numbers:
1. Canadian herds tend to be smaller in size – not as many 5000+ female sites.
2. Temperatures are cooler – summer heat doesn’t impact lactation feed intake as much as it does in US herds – could this be leading to better sow condition at weaning and subsequent re-breeding?
3. Females stay in the herd longer in Canada as evidenced by the parity at culling and lower replacement rates.
4. Gilt management may be different. While it hard to tell from the data, gilts are recorded as entering the Canadian herds at younger ages and lighter weights. Entry to first service is 21.5 days for US herds versus 34 days for Canadian herds.

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