In the industry, one of the main indicators of productivity is the level of capacity utilization, which is the maximum output of the machinery of a factory. Outputs lower than installed capacity mean that the resources are underutilized, resulting in profitability losses. This is called idle capacity.
In pig production, idle capacity may also be problem. The difference is that, instead of machinery, we have sows. The farmer must have accurate knowledge of how much sows are producing and their production potential to be profitable. One of the most important loss indicators is the number of non-productive days (NPD), which is the sum of the periods during which sows are neither gestating or lactating.
NPD means economic loss
From the business perspective, non-productive days cause losses because during these days sows continue to consume feed, use space and labor hours, as well as veterinary products, and do not produce anything, which means the farm is being underutilized.
A high NPD number may be a direct result of one or several of the following situations: long weaning-estrus interval (WEI), number of empty sows, repeated cycling, abortion, false gestation, sow mortality and culling, etc. These indicators influence the number of farrowings per sow per year (FSY), which in turn, directly affects the main indicator of reproductive efficiency, which is the total number of weaned piglets per sow per year (WSY).
NPD mean losses
Non-productive days have several causes, and you must have accurate and systematized information on all of them in order to determine which has the strongest impact on your business. As an example, we will assess a sow farm with 660 sows with an average of 29.81 weaned piglets per sow per year (WSY) that sells 7-kg piglets at an average price of BRL 95 each.
Before analyzing the costs, we need to convert NPD in weaned piglets by dividing WSY per 365 days to obtain the number of piglets produced per sow per day. In this example, dividing 29.81 per 365 results in 0.0817 piglet per sow per day. If each piglet is sold at BRL 95, then the cost of each NPD is BRL 7.76 (0.0817 X BRL 95.00), which is the amount of money not earned by farm per NPD!
This piece of information will allow us to identify where the actual losses are. Therefore, when analyzing the production indexes of the farm, the type of event that generated the highest number of non-productive days (e.g., abortion, return to estrus rate, culling of gestating sows, etc.) should be identified. This assessment will aid the farm manager to make decisions that will bring the best return on investments.
The NPD also help measuring the impacts of production events. For instance, which is the impact of 42-d weaning-estrus interval? You only have to multiply 42 days by BRL 7.76 (cost of each NPD). Now you know that this single event results in BRL 325.92 loss in future farm revenues, in addition of the cost of maintaining non-productive sows in the herd.
The economic impact of each event that causes one NPD can be used as a guideline to establish an action plan to reduce the number of non-productive days. However, the cost of improvement actions should also be taken into account; the difference between the NPD cost and the improvement action cost will determine its feasibility. So, let’s get to work!
What about you? Do you keep an accurate control of your farm’s NPDs? Tell us in the comments section.