A Survey of Texas Pork Producers Current Pre-Weaning Management Strategies

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ag Science and Natural Resources

Date of Award

Fall 2022


The following survey was conducted to elucidate more information about the preweaning phase of pork production in the state of Texas. This survey was distributed via Qualtrics to members of the Texas Pork Producers Association (TPPA). A total of 72 surveys were completed. Producers answered questions regarding their demographics, operation type, neonatal care, weaning strategies, and mortality rates. There is little information available about pork production in the state of Texas. Demographic results indicate the majority of Texas pork producers are white (100%) males (83%) over the age of 45 (53%) with a bachelor’s degree or higher (53%). Most operations have a herd size of 6-30 head (75%), zero hired employees (79%), and classify themselves as show pig operations (75%). The industry has focused on implementing management strategies to combat increasing pre-weaning mortality (PWM) and sow mortality rates. A Proc Logistic analysis was used to indicate which producer demographics and management techniques significantly impacted mortality rates. As a producer’s years of experience in the swine industry increased, their piglet mortality significantly decreased (P=0.01). Ear notching (P=0.05) significantly increased piglet mortality. The following management strategies tended to decrease piglet mortality: an interaction between iron injections docking tails (P=0.09), an interaction between castration and antibiotic/anthelmintic use (P=0.07), and cross-fostering (P=0.09). Increasing the number of processing procedures performed during piglet processing was associated with significantly lower PWM (P<0.0001). Measures that prevent PWM are beneficial to the swine industry both from an economic and welfare perspective. Texas producers currently practice many intensive management practices aimed at preventing PWM.


Douglas Eborn

Subject Categories

Agriculture | Life Sciences