The question of sow productivity is often raised but many people do not always agree on what this term really means. For some, it is the criterion which indicates the number of piglets weaned from a sow. However, by counting only the number of piglets weaned per sow, what occurs after weaning takes place is often underestimated.
Sow productivity can also mean the number of piglets produced per sow which leave the nursery. But sow productivity could also be considered to be the number of pigs sold per sow. The definition of this term can vary from a breeder to a breeder-finisher. It would, therefore, be appropriate to base this definition on the units which bring in revenue, that is to say the number of pigs sold per sow or the number of kilos sold per sow. Sow productivity therefore, calculated according to piglets sold per sow, can represent to a breeder approximately half the revenue compared to that of a breeder-finisher.
This method of calculation confirms that what happens after weaning is as important as what occurs before weaning. Moreover, variation in mortality rates must be taken into account as this can greatly alter the results from one year to the next. A large percentage difference can also be observed between good years and those when poorer rates are obtained in fattening alone.
Productivity can, of course, be calculated according to the number of piglets weaned per sow, but this information is incomplete if it is compared with the number of pigs sold per sow per year, which is more significant for management purposes.