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The main reasons for culling productive sows are reproductive failure, poor performance, and locomotive problems. The genetic gains made in the past years on sows productivity have been made at the cost of longevity. The modern lean sows are more sensitive to production pressures and tend to be replaced earlier than few years ago.

Tiếng Việt Burmese The first measures that needs to be taken are related to the preparation of the gilt. That topic has already been covered in last month nutricle (IT STARTS FROM GILTS) During consecutive pregnancies, the sows will tend to loose weight during lactation as the feed intake is not sufficient to cover the nutritional needs required from lactation (especially in hot weather). Even if this weight loss is physiological, it needs to be controlled (not more than 15% of bodyweight during lactation). An excessive weight loss will affect fertility and endanger sows’ future performance. To avoid such issue, we need to adjust the feeding program throughout the reproductive cycle to allow the sow to remain within the optimum fitness range. Good body development without excess body fat gain is the objective. The feed intake during lactation needs to be maximised and several strategies are recommended

  • Formulating diets using Net Energy rather than Metabolisable Energy (ME) or Digestible Energy can assist with reducing the heat increment generated by digestion and support higher feed intake

  • The usage of Betaine at 2kg/T can be used to reduce heat stress in older parity sows

  • The feeding program during gestation is critical as well to prepare the sow stomach to higher feed intake during lactation. You cannot expect the sow to increase feed intake from 1.5 kg during gestation to 7 kg during lactation in just few days. The sows need to be prepared during the last month of gestation with the increase of feed distribution up to 3kg per day. It may be considered by farmers as a loss of money but it is a wise investment with positive returns during lactation.

  • Fish meal (>2.5%) and fat (>5%) can be added to the diets to ensure sufficient palatability. Moreover, the addition of fat will reduce the contribution of carbohydrates as source of energy which will help to reduce the heat production during digestion as fat digestion produces less heat than carbohydrates.

During gestation, we are recommending to reduce the diet density to 2,150 Kcal NE in order to increase the feed intake up to 3.8kg in the third month of gestation and stimulate stomach development and eating behaviors. The goal is to prepare the sow to higher intake for the lactation period to ensure that she can cover her nutritional requirement. Locomotive support is as well a major issue that needs to be properly handled by nutritionists and farmers. Health and building plays a role but nutrition basics will need to be covered. 

Mycotoxins, particularly Zearealone can interfere with the reproductive performance of sows as it is an agonist of the oestrogen receptors. A maximum level in feed recommended for sows by the EU is 250ug/kg, in addition to this the total amount of mycotoxins within the feed should not exceed 1000ug/kg. Feed should be tested for mycotoxins, contaminated by-products must be avoided and appropriate mycotoxin binders which are effective against ZEA (normally containing yeast or algal fractions) should be used in sow diet.  Farrowing and mating exposes sows to potential uterine infections which can have detrimental effects on both sow health and welfare as well as reproduction performance. The use of phosphoric or benzoic acid is recommended to lower the pH of urine, which helps to avoid some common bacterial infections. Feed additives which have been shown to enhance the secretion of IgA will also reduce the risk of bacterial infections in sows. Formulating sow diets to an omega 6:omega 3 ratio of 5:1 is recommended for optimal sow health and fertility. The ratio within the formula can be manipulated depending on the fats and oils you have. Normally the ratio is higher than 5:1 and can be reduced by the addition of oils rich in omega 3. The application of Omega 3 in the diets of lactating sows has also been shown to enhance the vitality of piglets (again creating better suckling stimulus and higher colostrum intake). 


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