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Right Diets, Right Volumes Critical to Peak Sow Productivity

02 October 2017
Manitoba Pork Council


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CANADA - The Head Nutritionist with Gestal says ensuring the sow receives the right feed in the right amount is key to ensuring top performance and extended productivity, according to Bruce Cochrane.

Capturing Potential Through Nutrition was discussed last month as part of a Group Sow Housing Seminar hosted by the Prairie Swine Centre, Swine Innovation Porc and CDPQ.

Dr Hyatt Frobose, the Head Nutritionist with Gestal, says in a lot of production systems, both stalls and pens, the issue isn't whether the nutritionist of the producer knows what the sows should be getting but rather, at the slat level, are they getting what they should be getting?

Dr Hyatt Frobose-Gestal

Under conditioned sows are ones that I see people pick up on a little bit more easily.

Everybody for the most part, even your lowly trained workers at the farm, recognize a thin sow needs to be addressed.

Either she needs to be hospitalized or treated or if she's not receiving enough feed we need to increase her feed allowance.

That being said, a sow that's too think especially on the back side of farrowing, she's less likely to breed back and if she does breed back she's less likely to have a high number of ovulations.

Therefore, her subsequent litter will be smaller and if she's severely restricted from a nutritional standpoint the subsequent litter will also have lighter birth weight as well and she's going to milk less because she has less body reserves to draw off of in lactation.

What I see as a more common problem or challenge from an execution standpoint is getting animals over conditioned during gestation, in particular gilts before their first farrowing.

We know that if gilts get too fat before their first farrowing, there can be fat tissue that deposits in the mammary precursors that ultimately become the mammary tissue and this can limit her lifetime milk yield if she is too fat in the time period right prior to farrowing.

Dr Frobose says there is a greater opportunitty to fail in pens if we do not assign body condition correctly or if we do not calibrate the feeding system properly.

He says we could be applying the correct diet at the wrong level and then pay for it down the road through lower productivity or sows exiting the herd early.

ThePigSite News Desk



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