Extending the time breeding females remain in the herd can improve sow herd productivity and potentially reduce costs per pig produced, according to Ronald Bates, Michigan State University Extension. To improve sow retention, producers should be aware of conditions and periods that make sows vulnerable and could lead to removal from the herd, such as post-farrowing.

 Bates suggests reviewing your gestation and farrowing management practices to improve sow care and comfort to minimize mortality risks post-farrowing. While mortality rates are highest between 14 days and 55 days after farrowing, sow culling typically occurs about 60 days after farrowing. 

 Mortality that occurs 55 days after farrowing is often due to poor body condition or the sow’s health at weaning. If this is the case, you will need to review health management practices and feeding strategies to improve sow well-being at and after weaning.

 For more information on managing lactating sows, go to http://bit.ly/rsSTLz