Sow mortality associated with pelvic-organ prolapse (POP) has been increasing over the past five years, raising both sow welfare and production concerns. However answers are in short supply as the current POP epidemic has offered little in terms of root causes or patterns.
In the search for answers, the Pork Checkoff’s animal science and animal welfare committees have committed a combined $1 million in 2018 to research system-wide pig survival, with sow POP as the top priority. Iowa State University has been awarded the first project, which will work to identify what is causing the jump in sow POPs. A team of researchers will oversee the following objectives:
- Establish a network of industry partners and sow farm managers to collect data on severely-affected, moderately-affected and unaffected sow farms from different geographic locations and production systems.
- Develop a herd and individual sow survey to objectively collect, and then analyze, sow-farm data to identify contributing factors to sow POP.
- Establish a POP-associated communication and advisory network of producers, allied industry and university swine specialists.
- Establish a repository of data, samples and information related to sow POP for use by scientific communities interested in developing and evaluating mitigation strategies and solutions
“This first research project is designed to provide periodic updates, with the goal of having a final report by mid-2018,” said Chris Hostetler, animal science director for Pork Checkoff. “What we learn from this first project will direct future studies, but producers can be confident that sow POP research will continue to receive attention.” For related information, click here.