No matter what kind of recordkeeping system you're using, there are certain kinds of data you need to collect. Usually you organize the data by sow identification, date and event.

Iowa State University veterinarian Brad Thacker outlines the most common events and data you need to collect for the breeding herd.

  • Farrow: Number of pigs born alive, stillborns, mummies. Also include the litter weight.
  • Pig death: How the pig died.
  • Transfer: The number of pigs cross-fostered and which ones; same for nursing on and off.
  • Wean: Number of pigs weaned and their weight.
  • Matings per service: Identification of the boar used, whether it was artificial insemination or natural mating, and breeding technician identification.
  • Sows not pregnant: Pregnancy diagnosis, which animals were not bred, abortion occurrences.
  • Animal removal: Reason for removing the animal from the herd – death, culled, euthanized.
  • Incoming animals: Age, number, source, genetics.

Your data will vary slightly depending on the type of record system you use. Thacker notes that breeding herd data is fairly easy to collect and requires you to count pigs and record events. Recording birth and weaning weights takes more time, so that's one of the first things that slide, he adds. But that may not be wise. "You can't manage what you don't measure," Thacker says.