In Danish pig production almost 25 per cent of piglets die before weaning. Most of these deaths are immediately before or within a few hours or days of birth. There has been a significant increase in mortality rates in the last 20 years.
The report “Piglet mortality in Denmark” that was published by Aarhus University in 2010 described a number of alternatives for reducing the mortality rate, one of them being the use of genetic tools. These various alternatives are also mentioned in a new report published in January 2012.
Previously the official objective of the industry was for sows to produce as many piglets as possible. But in 2004 the focus was shifted so now the aim is for sows to produce as many piglets as possible that survive to day five, which is a crucial milestone for piglets in terms of survival rate. The report confirms that the introduction of the day five breeding target has reduced mortality in breeding and propagation herds and that this improvement in time is expected to be reflected in production herds.
The working group at the Ministry of Justice recommends that the industry reports back on the progress in piglet mortality in production herds in a few years’ time to ensure that the day five target is reflected in the production statistics.
Thursday February 9, 2012/ Aarhus University/ Denmark.