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Determining the optimal age of breeding gilts and its impact on lifetime performance, Literature review
Published May 23, 2019

Lifetime sow performance is a critical indicator for producers managing a commercial sow herd. It is comprised of sow longevity, lifetime piglets born alive, lifetime number of pigs weaned and lifetime non-productive sow days. Increased lifetime performance and longevity in sows reduces costs of replacement gilts and improves herd performance a...nd profitability (Sasaki et al., 2008, 2011). One of the most critical factors driving the performance of sow herds is gilt management. Decisions regarding gilts have profound effects on sows’ lifetime performance. Age at first breeding of a gilt is a management decision that has been shown to affect performance and retention of the gilt in a herd.

The main aim of this review is to establish factors affecting age of first breeding of gilts and its impact on lifetime performance.

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Heat-No-Service: Reproductive lifetime performance of gilts inseminated on first versus second observed estrus in commercial piglet producing herds
Published May 20, 2020

Heat No Service (HNS) is an increasing managerial decision made in commercial piglet producing herds. Performance of gilts has been shown to be influenced by initial decisions made on them at their introduction in the breeding herds. Lifetime Reproductive performance comprising of parity total born piglets and lifetime total born piglets of... gilts initially bred on first observed estrus (0HNS) was compared with that of gilts bred on second observed estrus (1HNS). Stored data from Porcitec database consisted of 2.072 gilts bred on first observed estrus (0HNS) and 2.453 gilts bred on second observed estrus (1HNS) totaling to 4.525 gilts. Data was statistically analyzed using the GLM procedure of IBM SPSS version 25. The results showed a significance difference (p<0.001) in lifetime total born performance of gilts bred at 0HNS (mean 93.9) and 1HNS (mean 95.7). There was also a significant difference (p<0.001) of total born piglets in parity 1, 5 and 6 in the 2 groups. There was an observed increased parity total born and lifetime total born when first time insemination of gilts was delayed to second estrus. The findings in this study favor the 1HNS breeding with an overall increased lifetime total born. Gilts inseminated at 1HNS produce 1.57 more pigs for lifetime as compared with those inseminated at 0HNS when observation is made up to P6. Producers in piglet producing herds could re examine their decisions for increased productivity by promoting many gilts into 1HNS but still maintaining the balance between breed targets and production schedules to remain competitive and profitable in the current global swine industry.

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Optimal age of breeding gilts and its impact on lifetime performance
Published December 15, 2019

Age at first breeding and lifetime reproductive performance was analyzed on 17,558 F1 Landrace x Yorkshire gilts from 9 piglet producing herds of Midwest, United States entered in herds between 1st Jan 2014 and 31st July 2016. At the time of data collection Dec 2018, 15% of the sows were still active in the herds hence exc...luded from the analysis. Individual gilt data included date of birth, age in days at first mating, piglet total born by parity, lifetime piglet total born and reason for culling. Quality data checks were done before analysis to eliminate all outlier values together with sows that had no entry information for any listed category. The total database of the sows was classified into 6 classes according to age at the first mating in days 170-190(n=754), 191-211(n=4683), 212-232(n=7123), 233-253(n=3385), 254-274(n=1002) and 275-369 (n=611). Piglet total born obtained from each sow during the lifetime production was significantly (P < 0.05) greater for gilts bred between 233-253 days of age at first mating. Gilts that were bred at <233 days appeared to have a higher risk of removal by farrowing productivity as compared to the other groups. However, the results show that the risk of being culled due to health problems and conformation issues increases as the age at first mating is delayed. Overall reproductive failure appears to be the most economical culling reason across all age groups. There is a need to evaluate the best management decisions for gilt initiation in a herd to maximize her lifetime performance. The results indicate that gilts mated for the first time at the right age, 233–253 days, are more productive, both in lifetime total born and have a minimal risk of culling due to farrowing productivity.

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Survival analysis of sow longevity and lifetime reproductive performance – Review
Published October 24, 2016

Sow longevity plays an important role in economically efficient piglet production. Improving sow longevity results increase in the productivity and profitability of a sow herd. Longevity is a complex trait with many factors that can contribute to a sow having a long and productive life. Not only the sow’s genetics, but also nutrition, environ...ment and the management policies are important. In addition, the removal of non-productive sows along with the introduction of replacement gilts is an essential part of maintaining herd productivity at a constantly high level. The objective of this paper was to summarize the current knowledge about the sow longevity and lifetime performance values, as well as, discusses the survival analysis methods for sow longevity traits. This method can estimate the hazard rate indicating proportional risk of sows being culled at any given time, in addition, it is able to investigate the effects of different factors on longevity. Identifying factors that influence the longevity could assist many commercial pig producers in becoming more efficient.

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Survival Analysis of Hungarian Large White, Duroc and Pietrain Sows
Published March 23, 2016

The aim of the present study was to perform lifetime performance analysis in three pig breeds; Hungarian Large White (n=295), Duroc (n=76) and Pietrain (n=91) on a commercial farm using analysis of survival sows. We took into consideration the age of sows at the time of their inclusion into breeding, their age at the time of culling, time spent... in production, number of mating and parities, parity percentage, intervals between litters, number and mean of piglets born alive and born dead, number of raised piglet litters, number and mean of 21 days old piglets, the weight and mean of raised litter and raise percentage.

We carried out the analysis by SPSS 22.0. Single factor analysis of variants, Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox PH model were used. The determination of the significance of risk rates differences was done by Wald chi square test.

Our results showed that the average culling age were 1056 (±33.52) days for the Hungarian Large White, 735 (±73.56) days for Duroc and 818 (±71.98) days for the Pietrain.

The log rank test of the survival analysis indicated a significant difference between the three tested genotypes (χ2=16.981, P<0.001), which means that the survival percentage of the individual breeds varied significantly from one another. In comparison with the Hungarian Large White genotype the Duroc genotype has a 1.6 times higher (P<0.001) culling risk while that of the genotype Pietrain was 1.36 times higher (P<0.001).

Our results can be used to compare the breeds kept under the same conditions and to compare the life span of one genotype under different farming conditions. Factors that increase survival and improve the profitability of pig farming can be determined by this method.

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Andrological examination of Hungarian Large White and Landrace boars
Published December 28, 2018

The Hungarian Large White and Hungarian Landrace pig breeds have outstanding lifetime performance, production parameters and crossbreeding ability. Nevertheless, during the recent decades, these breeds could not compete with the West European hybrid pigs concerning on production results. In this study, we made a complex andrological evaluation ...of boars in different Hungarian nucleus breeding stocks. After taking blood and semen samples, performing gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) challenge, ultrasonic and thermographic examinations were done. Laboratory tests were accomplished in reproduction labs of NARIC ABNMS. Our goal was to determine the reproductive performances of boars and collect samples for future genetic examinations, respectively.

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