Pig International - November 2012 - 10

10 |
❱❱ News

Consistent sow body condition
vital to optimum pig production
Adequate sow body condition scores during
gestation may enable quicker return to estrus
post-weaning, according to Mike Hemann,
Great Lakes Region swine nutritionist for
Purina Animal Nutrition LLC, who said that

sow rations should be formulated so body
condition scores remain steady through the
production cycle.
Producers should maintain a score of 2.9
to 3 on a scale of 1 to 5 within their sow herds,
according to Hemann. Sows with a score of
3 will have backfat measurements of 0.59 to
0.86 inches and the sow's ribs, hips and backbone will be able to be felt with firm pressure

but not observed visually. "Nutrition comes
into play in a big way when we look at herd
health and sow longevity," he said. "Feeding
sows so they have consistent, healthy body
condition scores can improve longevity and
help the sow become capable of producing 30
full potential pigs in one year."
Along with the potential for improved
birth weights and higher productivity in lactation, Hemann said that sows in ideal body
condition may return to estrus quicker postweaning. Reducing the days between weaning
and estrus can then influence efficiency within
the herd by helping the sow move onto her
next litter quicker. "We want to try to reduce
the days to return to estrus as much as possible and get that number as close together in
the group of sows as we can," said Hemann.
"Keeping that number low and individual
body condition scores steady comes from
managing nutritional intake during lactation
and then making sure sows are not underconditioned going into the breeding barn."
The most efficient sows will return to estrus
in four-and-a-half to five days on average postweaning, according to Hemann. In addition
to proper nutrition, routine body condition
scoring protocol can promote consistent condition. Herds that have consistent body condition
scores typically have one or two people trained
in the process whose focus is routine score
evaluation. These employees are responsible for
adjusting feed drops in gestation and managing
feed intake in order to promote and maintain
ideal body condition scores. 
"A good way to manage this is to divide
the herd into four groups," said Hemann.
"Each week one group is evaluated for BCS,
allowing all sows in the herd to be evaluated
on a monthly basis for BCS by the assigned
employees." Hemann said he encourages managers to post a list of the sows to be evaluated
in the farm office on a weekly basis to keep
the process top of mind. After evaluating the
condition of the sows, rations can be adjusted
accordingly so ideal body condition scores are
maintained through all production stages. 
"The key to consistent productivity is to
maintain adequate body condition in gestation, to return sows to ideal body condition
as soon as possible after breeding and then to
maximize intake during lactation," he said.
"One way to promote and help maintain consistent [body condition scores] is to have fresh
feed in front of sows at all times and then to

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pig International - November 2012

Contents
Pig International - November 2012 - Cover1
Pig International - November 2012 - Cover2
Pig International - November 2012 - Contents
Pig International - November 2012 - 2
Pig International - November 2012 - 3
Pig International - November 2012 - 4
Pig International - November 2012 - 5
Pig International - November 2012 - 6
Pig International - November 2012 - 7
Pig International - November 2012 - 8
Pig International - November 2012 - 9
Pig International - November 2012 - 10
Pig International - November 2012 - 11
Pig International - November 2012 - 12
Pig International - November 2012 - 13
Pig International - November 2012 - 14
Pig International - November 2012 - 15
Pig International - November 2012 - 16
Pig International - November 2012 - 17
Pig International - November 2012 - 18
Pig International - November 2012 - 19
Pig International - November 2012 - 20
Pig International - November 2012 - 21
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Pig International - November 2012 - Cover3
Pig International - November 2012 - Cover4
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