Attention to Nutrition and Weight Boosts Breeding Sow Productivity

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2055. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
calendar icon 9 February 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

Farm-Scape, Episode 2055

A Kansas State University swine researcher is encouraging hog producers to utilize feeding programs that will ensure gestating sows are neither too thin nor too fat as they move into the farrowing barn.

Dr. Bob Goodband, a swine extension specialist with Kansas State University, is encouraging swine producers to use backfat measurements to develop feeding programs for gestating sows.

He says the number one goal, when developing nutrition programs for gestating sows is to not get those sows too fat.

"We want to optimize feed intake so we try to reach an ideal body fatness of about 19 millimeters at the time of farrowing.

If those sows are too fat when they go into the farrowing house they're not going to eat, they're going to lose a lot of weight, they're going to produce small litters and have trouble rebreeding.

If they're too thin on the other hand that's also going to create a lot of problems so what we're trying to do is look at feeding programs that are geared to produce a sow that's in an ideal body condition.

We're seeing, compared to fat sows, almost an extra pig per litter in the subsequent farrowing. It all boils down to sows that are too fat going into the farrowing house, they won't eat, they will mobilize a tremendous amount of their body tissue reserves and go into a very catabolic state.

That way, when they're weaned, there are subsequent effects on the number of eggs that are ovulated, the quality of those eggs that are ovulated and, again, we see sows that go into the farrowing house in good body condition, they don't lose as much weight and they' have in some cases as much as a pig per litter more than fatter sows.

Dr. Goodband encourages producers to measure the backfat thickness of the sows and then, using those measurements to calculate the sow's body weight.

He says that information can then be used to calculate how much feed the sow should get to reach her target backfat thickness.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

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