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): Dr. Mike Tokach
Publication Date: January 1, 2002
Reference: Proceedings of the 2002 Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium
Country: Canada


Gestation feeding programs should ensure that sows are at the proper body condition score at farrowing, reproductive performance is maximized, and nutrient requirements are met at the lowest cost. Back fat is the most important aspect of condition. Too little back fat reserves can reduce reproductive performance and increase sow mortality. Girth measurement can be used as a predictor of weight so individual sows can be fed accordingly. There are several machines available to measure back fat. Equations are then used to determine the amount of energy requirements for maintenance, maternal gain, and uterine gain. Each week, the sows back fat should be scanned and their feeders should be adjusted accordingly. Sows falling behind should be given 0.5 kg more per day of feed. On day 100, sows should be given 1 kg more feed per day for 2 weeks. Feeding according to body condition during the first 30 days of gestation is critical for minimizing embryo mortality. There is little known about feeding on days 30 to 75, but it is thought that high feed intake increased the number of secondary muscle fibers and improved growth rate and feed efficiency of the offspring during the growing period. Days 75 to 100 are important for mammary development and the sows should not be overfed to avoid over conditioning and decreasing milk yield. Feed should be increased by 1 to 2 kg from days 100 to 112 to prevent the sow’s body from deteriorating. From days 112 to 114, 2 kg or more should be fed per day to prevent the sow from going off feed.

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