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Accuracy of sow culling classifications reported by lay personnel on commercial swine farms

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  • 1 Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.
  • | 3 Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.
  • | 4 Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.
  • | 5 Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the accuracy of sow culling classifications reported by lay personnel on commercial swine farms.

Design—Retrospective cohort study.

Animals—A convenience sample of 923 sows from 8 conventional, farrow-to-wean farms that followed standard operating procedures.

Procedures—Sows were examined at slaughter, and lesions were recorded. Individual production records were reviewed to determine the farm-reported reason for culling the sows, and criteria were developed to assess the accuracy of recorded culling classifications.

Results—For 209 of the 923 (23%) sows, the farm-reported culling classification was judged to be inaccurate. The culling code was considered to be inaccurate for 62 of 322 (19%) sows reportedly culled because of old age, 48 of 172 (28%) sows reportedly culled because of failure to conceive, 31 of 90 (34%) sows reportedly culled because of poor body condition, and 23 of 73 (32%) sows reportedly culled because of poor farrowing productivity.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that for commercial swine farms, farm-reported culling code classifications were frequently inaccurate. This degree of inaccuracy may cause severe limitations for studies that rely on farm-reported assessments of clinical conditions.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the accuracy of sow culling classifications reported by lay personnel on commercial swine farms.

Design—Retrospective cohort study.

Animals—A convenience sample of 923 sows from 8 conventional, farrow-to-wean farms that followed standard operating procedures.

Procedures—Sows were examined at slaughter, and lesions were recorded. Individual production records were reviewed to determine the farm-reported reason for culling the sows, and criteria were developed to assess the accuracy of recorded culling classifications.

Results—For 209 of the 923 (23%) sows, the farm-reported culling classification was judged to be inaccurate. The culling code was considered to be inaccurate for 62 of 322 (19%) sows reportedly culled because of old age, 48 of 172 (28%) sows reportedly culled because of failure to conceive, 31 of 90 (34%) sows reportedly culled because of poor body condition, and 23 of 73 (32%) sows reportedly culled because of poor farrowing productivity.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that for commercial swine farms, farm-reported culling code classifications were frequently inaccurate. This degree of inaccuracy may cause severe limitations for studies that rely on farm-reported assessments of clinical conditions.

Contributor Notes

Mr. Knauer's present address is Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695.

Supported by Hatch Act and State of Iowa funds. Additional funding and support was provided by the National Pork Board (project No. 04-127).

Address correspondence to Dr. Karriker.