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): R. Dean Boyd, Gonzalo C. Castro and Rafael A. Cabrera
Publication Date: January 1, 2002
Reference: Banff Pork Seminar 2002
Country: Canada


Good nutritional management of the gestating sow will result in a high level of weaned piglet output, minimized wean-to-estrus interval, and increased subsequent litter sizes. These objectives require an excellent gilt development program. Early gilt immunity is essential for when it comes time for herd entry (done be fecal feedback). Gilts should be fed for bone growth and development right up to about their second litter. Lower body weight can lead to a higher wean-to-estrus interval (usually any less than 150 kg is no good). They should be fed to minimize the loss of body protein and fats. There are 3 stages of pregnancy that require different feeding strategies. Maternal growth is important for embryo survival and implantation, and young females should be fed to increase body protein and fat mass without altering body condition. The second stage is bodily growth in order to recover body reserves lost during lactation. This should be for 30 to 45 days and should target 16 to 18 mm of back fat. Late pregnancy is the third stage and it aims to maximize foetal and mammary growth. Sows need much more feed at this stage (at least 7.5 Mcal digestible energy per day) to prevent breakdown of bodily reserves. Feeding the lactating sow should be to maximize feed intake. A lot of energy is required to produce vast amounts of milk and sustain a healthy growing litter of 10+ piglets for 21 days. Lysine and energy content are particularly important nutrients in the diet. Phase feeding for first litter females can also be done in lactation. High feeding from post-weaning to mating has shown a reduction in wean-to-estrus intervals. This leads to a higher percentage showing estrus within 10 days of weaning. First litter sows can be segregated in order to control nutrition and body condition. Piglets from gilts can be segregated because they have less passed on immunity, plus gilts piglets always tend to be smaller. This can impact the finisher barn efficiency. Good gilt nutrition can improve the immunity passed on, even beyond that of colostrum. Good nutrition of the gilt will result in good nutrition of the piglets and their digestive system will develop better.

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