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Animals 2019, 9(4), 160;

An Analysis of Culling Patterns during the Breeding Cycle and Lifetime Production from the Aspect of Culling Reasons for Gilts and Sows in Southwest China

Department of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science, College of Animal Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
Sichuan Dekang Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Technology co. LTD, Chengdu 610000, China
The Cooperative Innovation Center for Sustainable Pig Production, Wuhan 430070, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Contribute equally to this article.
Received: 1 March 2019 / Revised: 2 April 2019 / Accepted: 4 April 2019 / Published: 12 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pig Reproduction)
PDF [387 KB, uploaded 12 April 2019]

Simple Summary

Unplanned removal of gilts and sows shortens the longevity and decreases the production efficiency of commercial herds. A comparison between sow culling studies is problematic due to differences in genetics, housing conditions, and feeding and management among different countries. Analyzing and monitoring culling patterns in sows in a particular area could help improve domestic feeding and the managing level. Based on the large sample of production data, we found that disease, lameness, return to estrus, and anestrus beyond seven days sharply decreased lifetime production in sows. We suggest that producers take effective measures to reduce anestrus beyond nine months, reproductive system disease, return to estrus, and low or no milk production for gilts, weaned sows, gestating sows, and lactating sows, respectively. We also recommend producers pay more attention to disease, lameness, and return to estrus for sows at low parity.


To investigate culling patterns during the breeding cycle and lifetime production associated with culling reasons, 19,471 culling records were collected in southwest China. Lifetime pigs born alive (LPBA) and parity for culling reasons, and reason distribution at different parities and breeding cycle were analyzed. Sows culled for stress and death (SD), lameness (LA), common disease (CD), not being pregnant, return to estrus, and abortion (NP) had fewer than 20 LPBA (p < 0.05). Gilts were mainly culled for anestrus beyond nine months (AB9), CD, and LA, while weaned sows were culled for reproductive system disease (RS), CD, and anestrus beyond seven days (p < 0.0033). Gestating sows were mainly culled for NP, CD, and SD, while lactating sows were mainly culled for low or no milk production (NM), poor litter size, and CD (p < 0.0033). Moreover, sows were mainly culled at parity 0, 1, and 2 (p < 0.0024). Besides CD and RS, LA and NP were the primary reasons for parity 1 and 2 culls, respectively. In conclusion, SD, LA, CD, and NP sharply decrease sow lifetime production. AB9, RS, NP, and NM mainly occurred in gilts, weaned, gestating, and lactating sows, respectively. Low parity sows had a higher risk of CD, RS, LA, and NP. View Full-Text
Keywords: culling patterns; gilt; lifetime production; sow culling patterns; gilt; lifetime production; sow

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Wang, C.; Wu, Y.; Shu, D.; Wei, H.; Zhou, Y.; Peng, J. An Analysis of Culling Patterns during the Breeding Cycle and Lifetime Production from the Aspect of Culling Reasons for Gilts and Sows in Southwest China. Animals 2019, 9, 160.

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