Research into Increasing Sow Milk Yield

CANADA - Researchers working on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc are confident that increasing the volume and quality of milk produced by the sow will boost the productive performance of her piglets, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 5 January 2015
clock icon 3 minute read

As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc scientists with the Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Prairie Swine Centre and the University of Saskatchewan, are attempting to increase sow milk yield and piglet growth through the use of low-cost feeding and management strategies during gestation and lactation.

Dr Chantal Farmer, a research scientist in sow lactation biology with the Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre, explains various actors can affect milk yield, such as litter size, nutrition, genetics and environment but this project is focusing on nutrition and mammary development.

Dr Chantal Farmer - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada:

The number of secretory cells that are present in the mammary tissue at the beginning of lactation will have an impact on the potential milk yield of the sow so any way that we can find to increase mammary development will also be a way to increase potential milk yield.

Basically the project has three areas that we're working on.

One is looking at mammary development in gestation of the sow through feeding and looking at the relation with backfat thickness.

The other one is looking at ways to use naturally occurring feed compounds in late gestation or in lactation to try to increase fetal growth, mammary development and also milk yield of the sow.

The third aspect is looking at the different sources of fibre that can be used in gestating animals with the new group housing systems.

Dr Farmer expects to see the first useful results in two years.

She is confident this work will be of interest to producers, nutritionists and veterinarians.

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Charlotte Rowney

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