Document Type


Report Number

A.S. Series 66-26

Publication Date



Swine producers in the U.S. farrow approximately 13 million sows each year. From these sows 120 million or more pigs are born. Survey studies show that after one week of age, approximately 20% of these pigs are dead, and within three weeks another 5 to 10% die. The loss of 20 to 25 million newborn pigs during the first few weeks of their life represents a staggering loss of potential profits which the swine industry is forced to bear. If you are one of the producers that keep losses down to at least half of this average loss, then you no doubt have had satisfactory profits and like the hog business. On the other hand, if your losses equal the national survey studies, you are probably wondering if you should remain in the hog business. Raising your pig-per-litter average is the best profit opportunity you have in cutting costs and increasing returns in your hog enterprise. Planning for increased pig-per-litter average must, of course start where you are now. The record on your present program is the best source of information. Analyze this record and determine your strength and weakness. If records are not available, then take an inventory of your present situation. Include in your inventory: Facilities, equipment, labor and problem areas. Now develop your plan and then establish realistic goals for the future. A realistic goal should be ten to eleven pigs weaned per litter for a good swine producer. Be prepared before the pigs arrive, and during farrowing be with your sows.

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Agricultural Experiment Station, South Dakota State University