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Sow mortality, feed costs continue to increase

MetaFarms index highlights productivity and mortality as key performance indicators.

MetaFarms announced Aug. 4 the release of its "Production Index" data to provide key performance indicators for the swine industry, including productivity, finishing and mortality, based on anonymized data from its leading agricultural platform.

According to MetaFarms, leading indicators from the index demonstrate that the industry continues to see an increase in sow mortality, with the Production Index showing that sow mortality, on a percentage basis, nearly doubled in just seven years from 2012 to 2019.

"In general, the swine industry has focused quite a bit on genetic improvements — meaning that we are seeing a steady increase in total [pigs] born — but haven't yet closed the gap for mortality," said Brian Parker, chief operating officer, MetaFarms. "From the tightening trade market due to geopolitical factors to environmental impacts caused by climate changes and growing populations, this will need to be a key focus in the years to come to ensure that we are able to meet the growing demand in the market."

MetaFarms said other key findings include:

* Feed cost continues to rise. Feed cost is the highest it has been since 2013, coming in at an average of $309.76 per ton. However, the data show that, on average, pigs were on feed for nearly a day less, even though the average out-weight was up nearly 2 lb. compared to 2018.

* U.S. sow farm productivity increases versus Canada. Since 2016, Canadian farms have seen a significant decrease in pigs weaned by mated female per year (PWMFY). Among U.S. farms, PWMFY continues to increase, demonstrating a higher sow farm productivity rate. In addition, the index shows that sow mortality in Canada increased by nearly 15% from 2018 to 2019, whereas U.S. farms saw an increase of only 0.2%.

* Lighter starting weights lead to lower performance. On average, MetaFarms found that finishing groups with lighter average starting weights saw higher mortality, while adjusted feed conversion and average daily gain were significantly lower compared to other finishing groups.

"Each of these data points within the MetaFarms Production Index provides actionable insight for the swine industry to learn and, ultimately, improve operations," Parker said. "Leveraging key data points in real time can help producers make data-driven decisions to improve performance, which positively impacts their bottom line and, ultimately, revenue."

The MetaFarms Production Index is an aggregate of more than 1.1 million female animals from the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Philippines and Australia.

TAGS: Swine
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