Philippines: Diagnosing the reasons for culling to improve pig farming

In this regard, scientists from the University of the Philippines and the International Farms Corporation analyzed the distribution of slaughter type (planned vs unplanned) and reasons for slaughter of Landrace and Large White sows on a farm. of local breeding. The study also aimed to determine the longevity and lifetime efficiency of culled sows based on different types of culling and reasons for culling.

Avoid unplanned culling of sows

The scientists obtained culling data and lifetime records from 791 purebred sows (466 Landrace and 325 Large White). These sows were slaughtered between 2017 and 2019 at the International Farm Corporation (INFARMCO) pig farm in Laguna Province. Amid efforts to restock the country’s pig herd, scientists believe information on sow removal could be useful in developing management strategies to avoid unplanned culling of purebred sows and prolong their productive life.

Sow the reasons for the slaughter in the Philippines

The scientists found a considerable amount of unplanned logging (84%) compared to planned logging (16%). Common reasons for unplanned sow removal were reproductive failures (26.2%) and health problems (23.4%). Other reasons were physical malformations (15.3%), leg/foot problems (10.8%) and mortality (8.5%).

Reasons for planned culling were old age (11.4%) and poor farrowing performance (4.6%). The proportion of culled sows showed a general decrease up to parity 4. Scientists only observed culling due to old age from parity 6. For both breeds and for all parities and reasons for culling, reproductive failures had the highest proportion (26%) of culling, with the lowest proportion (5%) for the culling reason ‘poor farrowing performance’. While culling guidelines were the same for both breeds, the planned culling rate was higher in Large White sows than in Landrace sows. It was reversed in favor of Large White sows due to unplanned culling.

Improve sow longevity and lifetime efficiency

Scientists measured sow longevity (parity between days of culling and productive herd life) and sow lifespan efficiency (average of pigs born alive and pigs weaned) as a function of breed and of the type of reform. They found that Large White sows had higher lifetime longevity and efficiency than Landrace sows. The average parity for slaughter was 5.19 for Large Whites and 4.57 for Landraces.

The planned slaughter had an average slaughter parity of 5.95 while the average unplanned slaughter parity was 3.82; consistent with this observation, unplanned logging reduced measures of longevity and lifespan efficiency compared to planned logging.

Better management strategies

Following their study, the scientists reiterated the importance of culling information on the future productivity of purebred sows. They said this information is useful for developing better management strategies to avoid unplanned felling. It can also extend the productive life of sows and therefore improve the production efficiency of local breeding farms. They described some possible farming strategies that could increase sow longevity and lifetime efficiency:

  • Appropriate re-commissioning of sows and allowing multiple matings

  • Efficient selection of fertile gilts for entry into the breeding herd

  • Appropriate histopathological and macroscopic examinations related to reproductive failures in culled sows

  • Effective monitoring of soil cleanliness and moisture and ammonia levels

  • Appropriate loading rate to reduce the risk of leg disorders

  • Nutritional Strategies and Use of Advanced Cooling Systems to Reduce Heat Stress

The researchers pointed out that all results may not be comparable to those from tropical countries such as the Philippines, due to major differences in management, diet, genetics, climate and housing conditions, between other factors.

The study in the Tropical Animal Science Journal was written by OL Bondoc and JF Isubol. Researcher Bondoc works at the University of the Philippines and researcher Isubol works at the International Farms Corporation (INFARMCO) in Laguna Province, Philippines.