Feeding Management Key to Maximizing Sow Productivity

CANADA - The Manager Nutrition and Research with Gowans Feed Consulting says effective feeding management is key to maximizing the longevity and productivity of sows, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 11 March 2016
clock icon 3 minute read

"Sow Feeding Strategies" was among the topics discussed during the 2016 Manitoba Swine Seminar last month in Winnipeg.

Dr Malachy Young, the Manager Nutrition and Research with Gowans Feed Consulting, says producers need to avoid overfeeding during gestation but maximize feed intake during lactation.

Dr Malachy Young-Gowans Feed Consulting:

During gestation we want to manage feeding levels so we get the correct body condition of the sows as they enter into farrowing.

We want to avoid sows that are over-conditioned because these sows, not alone does it cost you in terms of added feed costs, but they cost you in terms of lost production, lower litter size, low weaning weights so managing body condition of our sows and avoiding those over-conditioned sows is extremely important.

If we switch and talk about lactation feeding, really when these animals come into the farrowing crates we are seeing more data now supporting full feeding of these animals in lactation from the day of entry into the crate pre-farrowing showing benefits in total feed intake of these animals, less weight loss in lactation and higher weaning weights and better subsequent litter size.

Really it's fairly simple what we're looking to happen. We really want to keep full feed to these sows.
Today's sows are weaning a lot of pigs. If we go back 10 years ago we were doing well if we were weaning 10 pigs.

Today a lot of herds are weaning 12 pigs and looking to go to 13 pigs weaned per litter so there's huge demands on these animals which affects how they produce milk and how they produce in subsequent litter size so it's very important that we maximize our feed intake of these animals to maximize our reproductive performance in subsequent parities and to get the lifetime performance out of these sows.

Dr Young says we sink a lot of money into these animals as gilts and it's very important to get to second and third parities to get lifetime productivity.

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