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Nutrition key to increasing sow productivity

Greater focus on sow nutrition can help swine producers drastically improve productivity and longevity across their herd, according to one of Canada’s senior nutritionists.

Dr. Hyatt Frobose said better conception rates, improved milk production during lactation and a reduction in re-breeding intervals can all be achieved by better sow nutrition, reports The Pig Site.

And getting nutrition right not only sets a sow up for long-term success, but also helps producers create more profitable and sustainable systems.

Speaking ahead of the Prairie Swine Center’s “Potential Through Nutrition” conference in Winnipeg, Frobose said that over- or under-conditioning sows causes them to exit the herd faster than they should — a growing concern for the industry.

“Over 90 per cent of US swine production currently see sow mortality levels around 10 to 12 percent  or higher annually,” he added.

“That’s not sows being culled from the herd intentionally. Those are sows dying on the farm and it’s typical to see anywhere from a 50 to 60 percent annual replacement rate within herds.”

While turning over generation intervals is important to maximize a herd’s genetic potential, Frobose said it highlights concerns over whether sows are retained long enough to pay themselves off.

“We have way too many girls that are leaving the herd after their first parity or second parity,” he added.

“That’s because nutritional problems can lead to reproductive problems, which are usually the main precursor to exiting the herd.”

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