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:

Author(s): Keith Thornton
Publication Date: January 1, 2002
Reference: Proceedings of the 2002 Manitoba Swine Seminar
Country: Canada


A good gilt development program is essential for individual and total reproductive performance. A good quarantine program prevents the introduction of foreign diseases and manure feedback will help to synchronize health status between gilt and herd. Proper estrus detection should be implemented to reduce the time to puberty, therefore reducing non-productive days. Housing (pen and flooring), nutrition (to ensure quality feet and legs and body condition), and boar exposure (the most important aspect) should be properly managed in order to minimize the days until puberty for gilts. Boars should not be housed close to the gilts pens to avoid habituation and loss of stimulus response. They should be heat checked with a boar for 20 minutes per day. PG600 can be used to bring gilts into heat quicker.
Gilts tend to mature slower in higher temperatures, such as summer time. 8 to 10 hours of light are needed to bring about puberty in an efficient manner. Good air quality with minimal ammonia is also very beneficial. First breeding should be delayed until second or third (about 210 days of age and 125 kg) estrus to allow the maturation of the reproductive tract.

Sow replacement rate must be monitored and controlled. For example, if reproduction drops after an average of 7 parities, it is not beneficial for the farm to keep sows past the 7th parity. Control of replacement rates will allow individual farms to maximize the population of 2nd to 5th parity sows. If the herd manager can work to this plan and can concentrate their energy on gilt development and selective culling, they will have the opportunity to take control of herd structure rather than allowing the herd to dictate the pace.

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