DOI: 10.3390/agriculture14010024 ISSN: 2077-0472

Backfat Thickness at Pre-Farrowing: Indicators of Sow Reproductive Performance, Milk Yield, and Piglet Birth Weight in Smart Farm-Based Systems

Hong-Seok Mun, Keiven Mark B. Ampode, Eddiemar B. Lagua, Veasna Chem, Hae-Rang Park, Young-Hwa Kim, Md Sharifuzzaman, Md Kamrul Hasan, Chul-Ju Yang
  • Plant Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Food Science

The importance of backfat thickness in sows lies in its correlation with nutritional status, reproductive performance, and overall health. Identifying the optimum backfat thickness is crucial for determining the ideal energy reserves needed to support successful reproduction and lactation. This research aimed to determine optimal backfat thickness (BFT) of sows in relation to reproductive and lactation performance. In this study, 32 lactating sows were housed in a controlled environment and assigned to four groups based on their BFT before farrowing: <17.00 mm, 17.00–17.99 mm, 18.00–18.99 mm, and ≥19.00 mm. The data were analyzed with One-way analysis of variance, and the association between backfat thickness and sow reproductive performance was examined through Spearman’s correlation analysis using SAS software. The results revealed no significant difference between the groups in total born, total born alive, and litter size weaned, but the piglets’ survival rate during the lactation period is lower from sows with BFT < 17.00. Moreover, piglet birth weight and body weight at Day 3 were significantly lower in sows with BFT < 17.00 mm. The BFT of sows at weaning showed significant differences among the groups associated with the backfat thickness before farrowing. No significant difference was found in the duration of farrowing. The return-to-estrus interval was longer in sows with <17.00 mm BFT than in those with 17.00–17.99 mm, 18.00–18.99 mm, and ≥19.00 mm backfat thickness, with estrus intervals of 7.17, 6.25, 5.31, and 5 days after weaning, respectively. Numerically, calculated milk yield (MY) is lowest in sows with BFT < 17.00, and the highest MY was obtained from sows with BFT 18.00–18.99 mm. In conclusion, sows with at least 17.00 mm BFT before farrowing are ideal for increasing the lifetime productivity of sows. This study provides valuable insights into the importance of sow management during gestation for subsequent reproductive success.

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