Articles | Volume 52, issue 3
10 Oct 2009
 | 10 Oct 2009

Control charts applied to pig farming data

J. Engler, K.-H. Tölle, H. H. Timm, E. Hohls, and J. Krieter

Abstract. Statistical control charts are effective tools to reveal changes in a production process. The CUSUM (cumulative sum) and the EWMA (exponentially weighted moving average) control chart are used to detect small deviations in a process. Data from two sow herds, herd A and herd B, were collected from 1999 to 2004. Farm A had an average number of 530 breeding sows, Farm B had an average of 370 breeding sows. Both herds were diagnosed with Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS). The weekly means of the number of piglets weaned (NPW), the pre-weaning mortality (PWM) and return to service rate (RSR) were analysed with different settings of the CUSUM as well as the EWMA control chart to reveal a shift in the production process. For the pre-weaning mortality and the number of piglets weaned, the two charts detected a change in the process 4 weeks (Farm A) and 2 weeks before (Farm B) PRRS was diagnosed. The CUSUM and the EWMA chart revealed a shift in the return to service rate on Farm A 3.5 months before PRRS was detected. On Farm B, the signal occurred 6 weeks before the infection was detected. The CUSUM and the EWMA control charts were effective tools for detecting small deviations in sow herd data. Compared with EWMA, the use of the CUSUM chart is more straightforward and the settings are more easily handled. The CUSUM chart is therefore the preferred option for use in practice.