PIC South Africa Hosts Technical Farmers' Day

by 5m Editor
15 April 2011, at 9:48am

SOUTH AFRICA - Expertise of the highest level was shared during the recent technical farmers' day hosted by PIC South Africa at the CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria in March with over 200 attendees.

The programme provided an in-depth focus on sow reproduction and included guest speakers Dr Jose Piva (PIC USA), Dr Rafael Kummer (Master Companies, Brazil), Bob Brcka (PigCHAMP), Dr Christian Simmet (Minitube) and Dr Andrew Tucker (Charles Street Veterinary Consultant, SA).

The content of the presentations focused on maximising sow production output, and bringing all management facets together in order to realise 30 pigs per sow per year (PSY).

above: Speakers at PIC's technical farmers' day
below: Delegates at the event

Dr Piva placed emphasis on the importance of correct feeding levels during gestation, on stimulating feed intake during lactation and farrowing house management. Maintaining herd structure and implementing sustainable management practices were also underlined.

Dr Kummer shared valuable production pointers in outlining the three main drivers to achieve 30 PSY: farrowing rate of more than 90 per cent, total born of more than 13 piglets per litter and maintaining pre-weaning mortality at less than eight per cent. The South African pork industry could relate well with this Brazilian speaker, with whom they share many industry similarities and production conditions.

Dr Simmet gave a very informative overview of modern reproduction technologies. Information on sexing of boar semen, ground-breaking work in optimising semen preservation and the development of automated and objective semen analysis systems by Minitube was shared.

Contract growing is a practice that is receiving an increasing level of interest in the South African swine industry. Dr Andrew Tucker provided valuable knowledge on this concept. He outlined in very practical terms the different existing models in structuring the relationship between partners in such a contract.

Bob Brcka's fascinating glimpse in the future of information technology sketched a reality of high level of integration between partners in the swine industry. PigCHAMP, which has recently been successfully launched in South Africa, is focusing future development on optimisation of processes for the pork producer, on integrating information systems between feed companies, genetics suppliers and the pork packer, in order to optimise profits in the supply chain.

The well-attended day provided the users of PIC genetics in South Africa with a wealth of practical information to take home and implement in their pig operations. The industry has a lot to look forward to regarding improved sow production, due to the outstanding content of the programme.