Individual Sow Feeding Cuts Feed Costs While Maintaining Performance

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Farmscape for October 26, 2020

Full Interview 9:55 Listen

By focussing on the nutritional needs of the individual sow, pork producers can reduce costs while maintaining optimum performance.
Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2020, hosted by Sask Pork, will be held virtually with sessions Thursdays from November 5th to December 3rd. Dan Bussières, the Head Swine Nutritionist with Groupe Cérès, will discuss “Sow Nutrition and Feeding, New Developments and Key Aspects to Ensure Success.”

Clip-Dan Bussières-Groupe Cérès:
The sows are more productive than they were 20 years ago, so the milk production is much higher, the litter weight is much higher and we deal sows that are leaner. So one of the challenges that we have is we have a sow that has limited feed intake at some time and they need to produce a lot of milk to support the growth of the pigs they have due to the increased litter size. With that being said we start to recognise that we may over feed the sow sometimes with protein and lysine. There’s some new research data that we are working on in our research system where we are starting to show that you may need less lysine than we were using before.

I’m not saying that by doing that you are going to improve performance but you can at least reduce the cost of feeding your sow in lactation. The other big development that we think will happen over the next couple of years with sow feeding, mostly in lactation, is the blend feeding or what we call precision feeding. Instead of feeding the sow with one single lactation diet with one level of lysine and one level of energy, there’s research that are done right now by our group where we have two extreme diets, low lysine and high lysine diets.

We use a blend feeding system to feed the sow on an individual basis based on their feed intake and based on the number of pigs they nurse and we have some molo that determines how much lysine that sow will need per day and then we blend the right portion of the two diets to make sure she gets what she needs. By doing that we can probably cut the level of lysine that we feed to a sow herd and reduce the expense of feed and maintain performance.

Bussières says, with our leaner more productive sows, we need to better understand how to feed them to optimise performance.

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