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.