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): George R. Foxcroft
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Reference: Banff Pork Seminar 2003
Country: Canada


The demands of particular markets for pork products will likely result in specific genetics in specific production systems to meet these demands. Replacement gilts need a good growth performance for a good reproductive life. When it comes to genetics certain genetic lines are better for tissue deposition. This allows production systems to focus on depositing the correct amount of fat and muscle for maximum fertility of the gilt. Sow studies suggest that increased protein mass at farrowing can protect against the loss of condition during the gilts first lactation (target weights are being investigated). The object of gilt growth variability is bad for standardizing the gilt pool. To overcome the problems caused by this variation, it may be essential to sort gilts by weight and growth performance at an early age. Nutrition can then be customized to bring the pool into uniform condition. Weighing and measuring back fat is also essential to the process. After all of this though, it is still recommended that the variation be monitored in gestation to ensure uniformity at farrowing. Starting an estrus detection routine at about 160 or 180 days will help to identify the small percentage that do not respond to the boar stimulus. This is good to identify because there is data that suggest that late maturing gilts have reduced lifetime productivity (including the fact that late puberty induction will result in a heavier gilt at time of first mating). Genetic selection and sow nutrition can help meet the nutrient demands of lactation from adequate nutrient intake. Low variation in wean-to-estrus interval should be the focus of lactation feeding. Research is still ongoing in this area, but molecular genetics looks promising. Current ways to improve this is to improve estrus detection and an estimate of heat duration for farm. Several options exist for compensating for the first wean-to-estrus interval (WEI): “skip-a-heat breeding” (which may be financially justified), breed at the extended WEI, treatment with PG600 at or on the day after weaning, a Regumate feeding program, split weaning, and split weaning along with a Regumate program. Improved selection of AI boars and reducing the number of sperm inseminations can also be effective. This has obvious advantages in terms of boar stud management in that it can produce more breedings per boar stud per year.

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