Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 1227–1234 | Cite as

Sow efficiency and early piglet mortality in two local pig breeds on smallholder farms in northern Vietnam—a longitudinal study

  • Philipp C. MuthEmail author
  • Le T. T. Huyen
  • Anne Valle Zárate
Regular Articles


In the recent past, pig performance and sow management on smallholder farms in the Southeast Asian Massif have been extensively researched. But the objective of this study was to investigate the lifetime efficiency of breeding sows of the local Vietnamese Ban (n = 89) and Mong Cai (n = 131) breeds in a production system context. The impact of sow longevity was considered in particular. In addition, predictors of early pre-weaning mortality in piglets were investigated. In total, nine villages of Son La province, situated in the uplands of north-western Vietnam, were selected, differing in access to markets, production intensity, and pig management level. Data was collected over a period of 10 years through an on-farm performance testing system. It was shown that sows of both breeds that achieved five or more parities farrowed and weaned significantly more piglets per life year compared to sows with only one or two parities. The conception rate (Spearman’s rho = 0.374) and age at first farrowing (Spearman’s rho = −0.424) were significantly correlated with the number of weaned piglets per life year of stayable (≥4 parities) Mong Cai sows. The risk of early pre-weaning death of piglets born to Mong Cai sows was affected more by litter size, while for piglets born to Ban sows, the risk was influenced more by the season. Therefore, interventions to improve the sow lifetime efficiency and piglet survivability must match the sow breed and management level.


Smallholder piglet production Lifetime efficiency Longevity Pre-weaning mortality 



Funding of this project by the German Research Foundation, Bonn, Germany, is gratefully acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

Statement of animal rights

For this retrospective study, compliance with international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals was not required.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philipp C. Muth
    • 1
    Email author
  • Le T. T. Huyen
    • 2
  • Anne Valle Zárate
    • 1
  1. 1.Animal Breeding and Husbandry in the Tropics and Subtropics, Hans-Ruthenberg-Institute of Agricultural Sciences in the TropicsUniversity of HohenheimStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Department of Economics and Livestock Farming SystemsNational Institute of Animal SciencesHanoiVietnam

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