Lactation weight loss influences subsequent reproductive performance of sows.
ABSTRACT In order to examine the effect of different lactation weight losses of sows of different parity on subsequent reproductive performance, the present trial was performed in German (n = 4) and Slowakian (n = 11) indoor pig breeding units (n = 1677 sows evaluated). Weaning-to-service-intervals, farrowing rates and total-born litter sizes in sows with different lactation weight losses were compared. Sows were categorized according to lactation weight losses of <5%, 5-10%, 11-15%, 16-20%, >20%. Lactation weight losses exerted a quadratic effect (P < 0.01) on weaning-to-service-intervals. When analyzed across parity categories, with parity category included as a fixed effect, the weaning-to-service-intervals appeared to be minimized at lactation weight losses of <5%. Weaning-to-service-intervals increased (P < 0.05) when lactation weight losses increased above 5% for parity 1 sows, but not until lactation weight losses exceeded 10% for animals of parity 2 and more. There was a parity effect observed at lactation weight losses of <10%, P < 0.05, but the difference was not significant any more at lactation weight losses of >10%. Lactation weight losses >10% had a negative (P < 0.05) effect on subsequent farrowing rates to first service. The difference was higher (P < 0.01) in sows with lactation weight losses >20%. Lactation weight losses exerted a negative (P < 0.001) effect on total-born litter sizes in parity 1 versus parity >5 and parity 1 versus parity 2-5 sows at lactation weight losses of >10%. CONCLUSION: As weight loss of sows during lactation increases subsequent reproduction performance decreases.