Higher Farrowing Rates Require Improved Nutrition

CANADA - A nutritionist with the Prairie Swine Centre says, with dramatically increased farrowing rates, meeting the nutritional needs of the gestating sow has become more important than ever, according to Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 7 February 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

"Sow Nutrition for Highly Productive, Modern Genotypes" was among the topics discussed yesterday in Winnipeg as part of the 2014 Manitoba Swine Seminar.

Dr Denise Beaulieu, a research scientist nutrition with the Prairie Swine Centre, says the number of piglets produced has gone up dramatically to where we're now commonly producing more than 30 piglets per sow per year so we have to feed those sows properly during gestation so those piglets can develop and during lactation so they can get ff to a good start with good milk consumption.

Dr Denise Beaulieu-Prairie Swine Centre

During gestation we still limit feed the sow because we don't want her to get over weight.

They will tend to eat too much energy and get fat and have problems at farrowing how ever we now know that, for example, we need to feed separately the first parity sows that have a higher requirement for some amino acids and a higher requirement for energy and also in late gestation.

That is when the needs of the gestating sow are much much higher.

That is when the fetus is developing and so we now know that we need to increase both the amount of feed eaten and perhaps the amino acid content of that feed needs to be increased in late gestation, the last three or four weeks of gestation.

Phase feeding, increasing the amount fed late in gestation, it improves the survivability of the piglets.

I don't have exact numbers but certainly the body weight of the piglets can be slightly higher but even more so the longevity of the sow is improved because she is able to come through the gestation and produce milk in a better state.

Dr Beaulieu acknowledges we expect more of these sows to be housed in groups in the coming years and feeding the gestating sow in groups is a challenge.

She says we would like to match the nutritional content of the feed as much as possible to needs of each individual sow and that becomes harder when she's in a group.

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