Technical article. Why use ultrasonography in pig farming?


Currently, ultrasound examinations are one of the primary diagnostic methods used in production animals. The data provided by these examinations are an integral part of modern farm management. Ultrasound systems used in pig farming can be classified based on their application.

1. Breeding sows:  

The main function is the diagnosis of pregnancy. The earlier we determine the status: positive or negative, according to ultrasound diagnosis, the greater the opportunity we must reduce the number of unproductive days (NUD), which can cost up to €4 per breeding sow per day. There are many devices on the market for this purpose, and most are portable. Typically, they are either a system with a wired display unit; IMAGO S & ESG Lite curve, or a wireless system that links to a handheld display; Duoscan Go, Duoscan Go +, Technoscan. Due to the high-quality images these systems produce, pregnancy determination can be performed at days 19-21.

Modern ultrasound systems make it possible to assess gilts' maturity or the breeding sows' litter size. Moreover, they allow the examination of the ovaries and follicles and the diagnosis of abnormalities such as endometritis or ovarian cysts. In addition to reproductive organ analysis, it is also important to monitor the body condition of sows (BCS) at different stages; at least before insemination, farrowing, and after weaning. Modern scanners such as the Duoscan Go, Duoscan Go +, and even the IMAGO.S have an automatic backfat measurement function, making it easier to collaborate with reproducers. If the breeding sow is thin, it will affect the success of insemination and fertility. Conversely, if she is fat, it will affect the legs and the oestrus cycle. In both cases, the consequence is poor performance, high culling, and associated costs. Body condition analysis will help the farmer to manage the animal feeding curve better and improve herd management (for both sows and gilts). 


2. Fattening pigs: 

Before being sent to the slaughterhouse, most genetics companies and large breeding farms use ultrasound to monitor muscle and fat depth, and loin eye area and to estimate intramuscular fat (IMF) and marbling. This is all essential information required to produce meat of a high quality. The Exago and Exapad mini scanners in our line are designed for this purpose and can utilize Biotronic analytic software. In addition, using the Exagoor Exapad mini in conjunction with the ECOTEXT software, we can evaluate the efficiency of immunocastration. 

3. Breeding boars: 

Using ultrasound to examine the testes enables predictions to be made regarding whether a young boar will be a good sperm producer or not. This facilitates the culling of early-stage boars with underdeveloped testes or with testicular pathologies. Using the Exago or Exapad mini, we can examine head, body, and tail of the epididymis, and the ECOTEXT software can automatically evaluate the parenchyma and aid in the selection of boars with a high reproductive potential.  

In summary, ultrasonography in pig farming provides critical information for managing breeding sows, fattening pigs, and breeding boars effectively. It supports early pregnancy detection, reproductive health monitoring, body condition analysis, and quality assessment for meat production. The use of advanced ultrasound systems and software enhances the efficiency and precision of these diagnostic procedures.

Do you want to know more? We are promoting a webinar about this topic "Analysis of pathologies of the reproductive system of boars and sows using scanners". 

We have two sessions available, allowing you to connect from anywhere in the world ????

Session 1
Thursday, 08 February 2024 at 10H CET
Register here
Session 2
Thursday, 08 February 2024 at 16h CET
Register here