Genesus Global Technical Report, Foster Sows – Economic or Not?

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Foster Sows – Economic or Not?

Simon Grey, General Manager Russia, CIS and Europe, Genesus Inc.

For many, leaving 10% to 20% farrowing crates empty because of big litters has become the norm, with many advisors and farm designers advocating the practice. Is it however economic? When you look at the numbers and consider the extra work, the math says definitely not!

On the vast majority of sow farms, it is the number of farrowing crates that is the limiting factor. In all businesses, we are always trying to improve efficiency and produce more and at lower cost. Therefore, pigs weaned per farrowing crate per year and cost of weaned piglet are the two most important factors when looking at the performance of a sow farm. In terms of cost, sow food per weaned pig and facility cost are two of the big ones. The target is 36 kg. (79.36 lbs.) to 38 kg. (83.77 lbs.) sow feed per weaned piglet.

In our modern world of worrying about carbon footprints, maximizing output from a facility (pigs weaned per crate) is the best way to minimize carbon footprint.

If I take a farm with 14 born alive and no foster sows vs. a farm with 16 born alive (2 higher) and 10% foster sows, then when looking at pigs weaned per crate the 14 born alive comes out just ahead.

14 Born Alive

(No foster sows)

16 Born Alive

(Foster Sows)

Number of Farrowing Crates

100

100

% Foster Sows

0

10

Number of Sows Farrowed

100

90

Born Alive / Sow

14

16

Total Born Alive

1400

1440

Piglet Mortality

9

12

Total Weaned

1274

1267

Weaned / Crate

12.74

12.67

Sow Average Lactating Time

21

23.1

Litters / Sow / Year

2.43

2.40

Two extra pigs born alive is a lot but is canceled out by just 10% foster sows!

If we look at 3 extra born alive and 20% foster sows then the 14 born alive once again comes out on top, by some distance. I am now seeing farms with very high born alive using 20% foster sows!

14 Born Alive

(No foster sows)

17 Born Alive

(Foster Sows)

Number Of Farrowing Crates

100

100

% Foster Sows

0

20

Number Of Sows Farrowed

100

80

Born Alive / Sow

14

17

Total Born Alive

1400

1360

Piglet Mortality

9

12

Total Weaned

1274

1197

Weaned / Crate

12.74

11.97

Sow Average Lactating Time

21

25.2

Litters / Sow / Year

2.43

2.37

PIGS WEANED / CRATE / YEAR

On Metafarms benchmarking system in the USA, top 10% of farms are weaning 189 piglets per farrowing crate per year. This is achieved without born alive of 16 and 17 piglets and is considerably higher than most sow farms in the world.

It is important to understand that on a pig farm we are managing space and time, much more than the pigs on the farm. Space is fixed, the pigs pass through the farm.

It is also important to understand real economic effects on farms. Traditional measures like born alive tell us nothing about farm economics.

FOR HIGH PIGS / CRATE SOWS NEED TO REAR THEIR OWN PIGLETS

Genesus’ research from several years ago has shown that sows can rear more piglets than the number of teats they have. Milk production is a far more important genetic trait than teat number. Selecting for lactation feed intake and therefore milk production is an important genetic trait. We expect sows to have an average feed intake of 7.5 kg. (16.53lbs.) per day. On a 21 day lactation period the total intake averages at 157.5 kg. (347.22 lbs.)

Research done in Denmark and published last month supports Genesus research. The Danish trial took sows with 14 teats and gave them 14 or 15 piglets to rear. Mortality and weaning weights were the same for both test groups, showing also that sows can rear more piglets then they have teats for.

FEWER PEOPLE TO CARE FOR SOWS

In the world today, it is getting more difficult to find the skilled staff to care for pigs. Sows that are easy to manage, that can be fed ad-libitum in lactation and that can rear their own piglets will become more and more important.

Feeding piglets and fostering are very skilled tasks and very time-consuming.

Time is money, another reason for choosing sows that can rear their own piglets, and with the high lactation feed intakes required to do so!

Article Source: Danish agricultural newspaper LandbrugsAvisen

Written by Einar Bo Thomsen on January 18, 2020

Article has been translated to English from Danish

Interview with Jørgen Lindberg – Director, Scandinavian Farms-China


Scandinavian Farms Drops Danbred

and chooses Genesus

 

It will be pigs from Canadian Genesus, who will play the lead, when the major reconstruction of the Danish-owned Scandinavian Farms Pig Industries starts in China.

Jørgen Lindberg, Director of Scandinavian Farms Pig Industries, Lianyungang, China.

You have had pigs from DanBred since you started in China in 2013. Why do you now switch to Genesus?

‘It is an important decision when choosing, which genes to build your herd on. Therefore, we have examined the market and the various suppliers very thoroughly. Overall, we think we get the best solution with Genesus, both when we look at the agreement and the terms, and when it comes to the pigs we get from Genesus.”

Were you not satisfied with DanBred’s pig?

“Yes – the pigs from DanBred have the best genes in the world, and it went well. We had both a nucleus herd with 1,600 DanBred sows that we owned together with DanBred, and a production herd with 14,000 sows and the production of 350,000 slaughter pigs annually. But we have learned that pig production in China is not the same as in Denmark. We cannot expect our employees out here to manage the pigs as we are used to in Denmark. That is why we are now switching to pigs that do not need near the same thorough care to produce good results”

What is it that the pigs from Genesus can?

“With the Genesus sows we get about 16.5 piglets per litters compared to DanBred’s 17-18 piglets. In contrast, the birth weight of the Genesus pigs is quite a bit higher and the pigs are stronger. In Chinese conditions, we believe that it is an advantage with fewer, but in turn stronger piglets, which easier will get all the way to slaughter. As another important factor, feed is 60 percent more expensive in China than in Denmark. Therefore, it is important that the pigs are strong from birth so that they utilize the feed better and reach the slaughter weight faster”.


Genesus is honoured that Danish-owned Scandinavian Farms has chosen our Genetics. We believe the preceding article summarizes the advantages of Genesus.

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