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 Industry Partners


Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan


Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:



Feeding wheat dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) to weaned pigs

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Production by student on June 12, 2018

Authors: Lifang Wang, Eduardo Beltranena, and Ruurd T. Zijlstra. Western Hog Journal Fall 2016.

Summary: This experiment evaluated including up to 20% wheat DDGS in weaned piglet diets. It was found that including high quantities of wheat DDGS in the diet reduced weight gain and increased feed conversion in the first week on test. The researchers recommended that when the price of soybean is quite high that slowly including wheat DDGS progressively into the diet.

Cooling systems for pigs a hot topic

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Author: Swine Innovation Porc. Canadian Hog Journal Spring 2018.

Summary: When pigs are being transported ventilation with in the trailer occurs through passive ventilation, there is no use of a cooling system. When the vehicle is not moving pigs have no way to cool down, which can have a fatal outcome. Trailers have been equipped with sprinkler systems that are turn on when the vehicle is stationary, however this in turn increases the humidity which can be more detrimental then just the high temperatures. Currently research focuses on combining the sprinkler system with mechanical ventilation. The mechanical ventilation aiding in decreasing the humidity of the trailer. This experiment resulted in nonuniform results as poorly designed compartments did not receive as much air flow as  the open compartments.

These researchers are also studying vibration rates within trailers. They are looking at whether rates of vibrations vary between compartments within the trailer.

Cooling Systems for Pigs a Hot Topic

EGF helps piglets get growing

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Production, Swine Innovation by student on June 11, 2018

Author: Swine Innovation Porc. Canadian Hog Journal Spring 2018.

“We now have the ability to boost the growth of early weaned pigs and decrease the chance of infection while reducing the use of antibiotics and blood plasma”. – Dr. Li

Summary:  Naturally produced in the sows milk is EGF or epidermal growth factor which supports the development of the piglet’s intestine. Piglets are being weaned around 21 days which results in a decrease in milk consumption, as well as EGF. This decreased milk consumption can slow their growth and development. Through the use of a three week trial researchers were able to demonstrate the benefits of EGF supplementation of intestinal development. EGF supplementation enhanced piglet growth, body weight gain, and gain to feed ratio.

EGF Helps Piglets Get Growing

Feed preference of weaned pigs for soybean meal, Brassica napus canola mean, or Brassica juncea canola meal

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Author: Jose L. Landerol, Lifang Wang, Eduardo Beltranenal, Clover J. Bench, and Ruurd T. Zijlstral. Canadian Hog Journal Spring 2018.

Summary:  In this study it was determined that weaned pigs prefer soybean meal to canola. However, weaned piglets also had preference when considering different species of canola. When comparing Brassica juncea canola meal to Brassica napus canola meal it was determined that weaned piglets prefer Brassica napus over Brassica juncea. This study also demonstrated that although the pigs preferred the soybean meal, feeding canola meal did not influence feed intake or overall growth performance. All in all, this study concluded that canola meal can be used as a effective alternative to soybean meal.

Feed Preference of Weaned Pigs for Soybean Meal, Brassica napus canola meal, or Brassoca juncea Canola Meal

Effects of including hybrid rye in diets for gestating and lactating sows

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Authors: G. Sorensen and J. Krogsdahl. Canadian Hog Journal Spring 2018.

Summary: When looking at the implications of feeding a diet of 65% rye to sows in gestation and 35% during lactation this study found that it did not affect the litter size or farrowing rate when compared to0 a control diet of just barley and wheat. The study also noted that due to the higher density of rye when compared to other commonly used feed ingredients, the feeders had to be adjusted. The milk yield of the sows was not affected by these concentration of rye, as well as there was no increase in culled sows over a 24 month period.

Effects of including hybrid rye in diets for gestating and lactating sows

Is it possible to increase the amount of colostrum available to newborn piglets?

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Author: Chantal Farmer, Ph.D. and Helene Quesnel, Ph.D. Canadian Hog Journal Spring 2018.

Summary: Most sows do not produce enough colostrum to optimize the growth of their piglets. Results from a recent study demonstrate the oxytocin can be a viable mechanism for increasing the length of time a sow will produce colostrum for. One injection of oxytocin between 12-20 hours post farrowing can serve to prolong the closing of tight junctions which allows for large molecules, such as immunoglobulins, to pass into the milk. In this experiment there was no difference in weight gain in the litters whose sows has received the oxytocin injection, however there was a decline in preweaning mortality.

Is it Possible to Increase the Amount of Colostrum Available to Newborn Piglets

Optimizing dietary electrolyte balance to improve sow performance

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Author: Pieter van Wijck, Nutrition Partners Inc. Canadian Hog Journal Spring 2018.

Summary: Dietary electrolyte balance (dEB) is the difference between the positively and negatively charged ions within the feed. It is a widely accepted concept in the dairy industry used to enhance performance during reproduction and lactation. During gestation it is important to feed a feed with a higher electrolyte balance which will cause the sow to store calcium within her bones. At farrowing a lower electrolyte balance should be utilized to cause calcium mobilization from the bones. Following farrowing a higher electrolyte balance is needed during lactation in order to optimize milk production and increase weaning weights. Overall, implementing a feeding regimen that effectively utilized the dEB principle can positively effect your bottom line. This is done by improving reproduction and decreasing the percentage of stillbirths and preweaning mortality.

Optimizing Dietary electrolyte balance to improve sow performance

Determining the Optimum Stocking Density in Nursery Pigs

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This study addresses concerns surrounding space allowance in nursery pigs to establish the critical cut off points at which crowding occurs. This study was divided into phase one and phase two. Phase one taking place in the Nursery barn at Prairie Swine center. In phase one the results found that during the summer months there was no significant differences found in growth and immune responses between the two densities (10 and 40 pigs). However, there were significant effects for body positioning with regards to density. More pigs were found sitting at lower space allowances and also spent more time eating. Further analysis correlating growth and physiology measures will help interpret the importance of these changes for piglet health and welfare. Phase two of the trial will focus on two commercial operations and apply a similar concept.

Determining the Optimum Stocking Density in Nursery Pigs – 2017

Determining Effective Enrichments for Group Housed Sows

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Modern production practices place limitation on pig’s ability to partake in highly motivated behaviors such as rooting and exploring. Enrichment allows changes to occur that are intended to increase the range of normal behaviors ultimately improving the biological functioning and well-being of the animal. In Canada, the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of pigs requires the provision of enrichment. When looking at slatted concrete pens there is a lack of effective environmental enrichment options for sows. In this study it was concluded that when enrichment was rotated (Rotation and Stimulus treatments) sows spent more time near enrichments and were more active than when Constant enrichment or Control treatments were provided. Based on this initial analysis the sound stimulus appeared to have no significant effect. Although the straw enrichment produced the greatest response, sows also made use of rope and wood on chain enrichments, and no adverse effects were found for sows or manure management indicating their suitability as enrichment materials for group-housed sows.

Determining Effective Enrichments for Group Housed Sows – 2017

Practical Alternatives for Managing Castration Pain in Piglets

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Castration is a procedure completed on male piglets to prevent the development of boar taint, which is an unpleasant smell and odor in pork from males. There are a couple objectives outlined in this experiment, to identify which analgesics will provide optimal pain relief to piglets, at what age castration should be performed to minimize stress and production losses in piglets, determine if the timing of drug administration affects piglets’ pain responses following castration and whether provision of oral sucrose prior to an analgesic can provide measurable benefits to pigs during the initial pain of castration. Behavioral observations were used to determine pain in castrated piglets. The effectiveness of the different analgesics was determined by the piglet’s ability to navigate a chute unaided. A decreased sensation of pain felt by the piglets corresponded to the piglet’s more quickly navigating the chute. This experiment determined that of the three analgesics used, meloxicam, ketoprofen and paracetamol, ketoprofen displayed the most positive effects. This conclusion was made due to the quicker response time for the piglets when navigating the chute. However, when comparing castrated piglets to those who had sham castrations there was no significant difference in chute navigation time.  There is no definite cause for this; however it is believed to be a result of handling stress or an additional environmental stress.

Practical Alternatives for Managing Castration Pain in Piglets – 2017

 
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