Breeding herd recommendations for swine
The three overall goals for a gestating sow program is to prepare sows to be in proper body condition at farrowing; maximize reproductive performance (farrowing rate and litter size); and meeting the daily nutrient requirements at the lowest cost possible (measured as cost per sow per day).
Individual sow feeding stalls are an effective device for controlling boss sows. If sows are group fed, it is imperative that feed be spread across a large area to reduce fighting and ensure that all animals consume their feed allotment. In group housing systems, many managers will increase the specified feed allowance per sow by 10 to 15 percent to account for wastage and boss sows consuming more than their feed allowance.
The most important point is to have as few sows as possible under 15 mm or over 24 mm of last rib fat depth at farrowing.
If more than 75 percent of the sows are between 15 and 24 mm at farrowing, the producer is doing a good job of setting feeding levels during gestation.
The team has tested and implemented a method to feed sows based on backfat and body weight estimates.
The article also discusses patterns of feed intake and amino acid levels to be included in feed for gestating and lactating sows.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Kansas State University.