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WPX: Is 30 Pigs Per Sow Per Year Really Achievable?

06 June 2013

US – “Yes” said a panel of experts that addressed the issue during the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa writes Chris Wright for The Pig Site.

“Sow Nutrition and Management in Focus” was the session sponsored by Purina Animal Nutrition, Zinpro Corporation and DSM. Six different speakers, including pork producers, university professors and industry suppliers, addressed a full house on the issue of getting the most productivity from sows.

The bottom line from this session, as expressed by Dr. Dan McManus from Purina Animal Nutrition, is that 30 pigs per sow per year (psy) is achievable, but it does take a good motivated team, and all the right conditions must come together.

Steve Huegerich, National Director of Swine Operations for GSC Agribusiness, stated that they use incentives for their employees in order to produce the best pigs and get them out the door.

Steve Stitzlein from Heimerl Farm noted that producers had to be sure that the sows were in good condition. He said they run their sows a bit heavier, and that has helped them.

Dave Hansen, owner operator of Hansen Haven and Hansen Hog West, stated that they try to attend farrowings 18 hours a day, so under normal conditions 30 psy is achievable. However, when PRRS is present you can’t get 30 psy.

On the subject of PRRS, Dr. Derald Holtkamp from Iowa State University mentioned that when that disease is present, most farms don’t run at 30 psy. When PRRS is present it is not good to move piglets around – no cross fosterings – or else you move the disease around.

Dr. Jon Bergstrom from DSM Nutritional Products emphasized the role of vitamins in sow nutrition. He did say that there is no indication that feeding more Vitamin D to sows, above the recommended levels, makes a difference.

Dr. Holtkamp also observed that the small pigs from big litters do not stand a chance. Therefore, producers should try to save the good pigs and not spend their efforts on making bad pigs good. Do not create peewee litters. He also said it’s important to keep the sows teats functional and to not let the milk run dry.

Dr. Bergstrom echoed those same ideas, saying that producers should never create peewee litters. You have to keep good pigs sucking on functional teats. Sows needs lactational stimulus, which also helps them during the next pregnancy.

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