How to Measure The Backfat on Sows and Gilts

Partner(s): Choice
Industry(ies): Swine

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Michel Launay, Technical Manager Europe, explains how important is to measure the backfat thickness of sows and gilts to determine feeding and mating strategies.


Michel Launay


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Equipment needed

In the breeding department, Choice recommends using backfat thickness of sows and gilts to determine body condition and implementation of the feeding and mating strategy for your Choice females.

To perform this measurement, we will use a device called the Renco Lean-Meater.

Location for measuring backfat

First, locate the last rib on the side of the sow with your middle finger. Then identify a point that is aligned with that rib and between 3 and 5 cm (1-2 inches) below the spine. This is also called the P2 location.

Measuring the backfat

At this location, put a drop of oil on the sow and carry out the measurement.

Reading the measurement on the lean meater

The measurement of 15 mm we see here is within the Choice recommendations of between 13 and 16 mm of backfat for a sow at weaning or mating and 16 to 18 mm at farrowing.

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