Author(s): De Vries A, Reneau JK
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Abstract Statistical process control (SPC) is a method of monitoring, controlling, and improving a process through statistical analysis. An important SPC tool is the control chart, which can be used to detect changes in production processes, including animal production systems, with a statistical level of confidence. This paper introduces the philosophy and types of control charts, design and performance issues, and provides a review of control chart applications in animal production systems found in the literature from 1977 to 2009. Primarily Shewhart and cumulative sum control charts have been described in animal production systems, with examples found in poultry, swine, dairy, and beef production systems. Examples include monitoring of growth, disease incidence, water intake, milk production, and reproductive performance. Most applications describe charting outcome variables, but more examples of control charts applied to input variables are needed, such as compliance to protocols, feeding practice, diet composition, and environmental factors. Common challenges for applications in animal production systems are the identification of the best statistical model for the common cause variability, grouping of data, selection of type of control chart, the cost of false alarms and lack of signals, and difficulty identifying the special causes when a change is signaled. Nevertheless, carefully constructed control charts are powerful methods to monitor animal production systems. Control charts might also supplement randomized controlled trials.
This article was published in J Anim Sci
and referenced in Journal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy