Bioeconomic evaluation of sow longevity and profitability

S. L. Rodriguez-Zas, B. R. Southey, R. V. Knox, J. F. Connor, J. F. Lowe, B. J. Roskamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sow production indicators, including litter size, litter weight, and the length of time that sows remained in the herd (sow longevity), were used to characterize sow performance and profitability. Sow longevity and production records from 148,568 sows in 32 commercial herds from Central Illinois from January 1995 to May 2001 were analyzed using survival and repeatability models, respectively. The factors studied included sow genetics (32 genetic lines), with eight major lines present in multiple herds, and the combination of herd and year of entry in the herd. The largest difference in longevity between the major genetic lines was approximately one parity. There were differences (P < 0.05) in the instantaneous sow removal rate or hazard from the major lines. These differences constitute evidence that sow longevity could be improved by using replacements from specific genetic lines. The net present value per sow (present value of future cash flows and the present value of the sow) was used to evaluate the effect of sow longevity and production traits on economic returns. Assuming a zero discount rate per parity, genetic lines with longer herd life resulted in greater profit than genetic lines with shorter herd life. This difference was reduced with increasing discount rates and was reversed with high discount rates and low net income per litter. These results suggest that the magnitude of the economic improvement attained through the use of sow genetic lines with longer longevity depends on the economic context under which the evaluation is made.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2915-2922
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Analysis
  • Economics
  • Genetics
  • Sows
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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