Animal Science Department



Date of this Version



Published in 2009 Nebraska Swine Report. Prepared by the staff in Animal Science and cooperating Departments for use in Extension, Teaching, and Research programs. Copyright © 2009, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension.


Pigs treated alike vary in performance due to their different genetic makeup and to environmental effect we cannot completely control. When a group of pigs is randomly allotted to treatments it is nearly impossible to get an "equal" group of pigs on each treatment. The natural variability among pigs and the number of pigs per treatment determine the expected variation among treatment groups due to random sampling. At the end of an experiment, the experimenter must decide whether observed treatment differences are due to "real" effects of the treatments or to random differences due to the sample of pigs assigned to each treatment. Statistics are a tool used to aid in this decision.