Pig International - November 2012 - 21
FIGURE 1: Piglets born alive and weaned in the Netherlands
Figure 1: Piglets born alive and weaned in the Netherlands
Number of piglets (n)
For more information...
about sow nutrition, see
"A guide to successful sow
feeding systems for group
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Source: Agrovision BV., The Netherlands
During the past decade, litter size and number of piglets weaned have increased,
which have increased the metabolic demands on first litter sows.
FIGURE 2: Back fat depth and loin muscle depth
Figure 2: Back fat depth and loin muscle depth
* indicates a significant difference
Source: Adapted from Hoving et al., (2012)
Although high weight loss sows lost more weight than low weight loss sows, back fat
loss was similar at 4.6mm and 4.8mm, respectively. Loin muscle depth loss also was
4.2mm higher for high weight loss than for low weight loss sows.
Sow reproductive issues
Weight loss during lactation
consists mainly of losses of body fat,
body protein and body water. Of these
three, body protein losses have been
reported to have the largest effect on
reproductive performance (Clowes
November/December 2012 | www.WATTAgNet.com
et al. 2003ab; Willis et al., 2003).
Therefore, in Study 2, back fat depth
as a measure for fat loss was measured.
In addition, loin muscle depth as a
measure of protein loss was measured.
Although high weight loss sows lost more
weight than low weight loss sows, back
Lia Hoving, technical services
manager at Provimi - "Sow weight
losses above 11 percent should be
prevented, because they have a
negative effect on embryonic survival,
litter size and farrowing rate."
fat loss was similar at 4.6mm and 4.8mm
respectively, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2 also shows that loin muscle
depth loss was 4.2mm higher for high
weight loss than for low weight loss
sows. These results indicate that weight
loss was more related to loin muscle
depth loss (correlation 0.6, P<0.05) than
back fat loss (correlation 0.15, P<0.05).
As described above, loin muscle
depth was used as a measure of protein
(muscle) loss. Loin muscle depth loss,
however, only showed a low correlation
with protein mass loss (r=0.27),
indicating that losses of other muscles
might be more indicative of total body
protein mass loss during lactation.
Furthermore, loin muscle measures are
very labor-intensive and loin muscle
loss was not significantly related to
embryonic survival or development.
It can, therefore, be concluded that
under practical conditions weight loss
has the best correlation with subsequent
reproductive performance. Used in
combination with back fat measurements,
a producer has a great tool to monitor