30+ Pigs Per Sow Per Year - What is the productivity limit for the modern hyperprolific sow?

Dec 02
Gunner Sorensen at International Forum on Pork Production

Gunner Sorensen at Alltech's International Forum on Pork Production

Dr. Gunner Sorensen is a program manager in Pig Research Centre, Danish Agriculture and Food Council, Denmark. He spoke to Alltech's pork forum about his work enhancing sow production and maintaining sow welfare through nutrition. The most efficient Danish pig farmers are producing 35 pigs / sow / year with DanBred sows.

Setting a goal of 35 pigs / sow / year creates several challenges, including:

  • 15 weaned pigs / litter
  • 2.33 litters / sow / year
  • 28.6 days of lactation / sow and maximum 12% nurse sows
  • 5 days from weaning to service
  • Farrowing rate over 90

Sorensen's research has covered many factors related to pig nutrition and its effect on sow productivity and welfare. Increasing sow productivity is dependent on nutrition, management of sow body condition, gastric health, minerals, protein, and lactation. Some of his most interesting findings are highlighted here.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus levels were reduced dramatically while adding phytase, without affecting leg strength or productivity. Sorensen saw very positive results even with no addition of phosphorus during gestation.

Gastric Ulcers

Gastric ulcers were reduced with coarse-grained feed. This allowed for a more normal pH gradient in the digestive system when compared to pelletized feed.

Micro Minerals

Micro minerals are important but we need a greater understanding of the interaction between minerals before we can find the right diet for sows.

Protein and Piglet Birth Weight

Piglet birth weight is dependent on energy in the sows diet during gestation - not protein.



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