Our swine industry is one of constant improvement, and with those improvements come unforeseen consequences. One exciting trend has been the continual increase year after year in total pigs born per litter. However, as litter sizes continue to increase, so too does the time it takes the sow to complete the farrowing process. This can increase the incidence of stillborn pigs and limit sow productivity.
One strategy to mitigate this is the use of dietary fiber or reduced feeding intervals during the periparturient period, but this is not always possible. More opportunities certainly exist to optimize the number of live-born piglets in these increasing litter numbers, improving sow throughput.
Our group recently launched Triad®, which was developed to aid the farrowing process. Triad is a unique blend of ingredients encapsulated in an aromatic fat matrix, designed to be fed to the sow prior to farrowing. By applying proven concepts from the dairy and poultry industries, three days of Triad supplementation induces metabolic changes, which allow the sow to efficiently utilize calcium from her body reserves during the farrowing process. In addition, Triad works in complement to reduced feeding intervals to accomplish a final goal of reducing farrowing duration, with fewer stillborn and hypoxic pigs delivered as a result.
We have completed three trials1,2,3 utilizing Triad in this manner and are excited to have more trials in progress, further demonstrating the benefits of implementing Triad into your pre-farrow protocol. Across our trials, we found a consistent reduction in stillborn incidence, at 0.33 fewer stillborns per farrowing. Additionally, our research1 has demonstrated a reduction of 1.4 hours of farrowing duration in the treated sows, compared to sows fed once daily. Further research2 has demonstrated that stillborn incidence can be reduced further in sows fed twice per day while supplemented with Triad.
In another of our trials3, we successfully demonstrated a reduction in urine pH in sows treated with Triad prior to farrowing. Urine pH can be an effective on-farm measurement to evaluate the success of protocol implementation. We also found that urine bacterial counts were lessened in sows fed Triad, compared to the control group.
Clearly, there is an excellent opportunity to achieve financial gain with Triad supplementation.
Triad can be fed either as a top-dress or within complete feed prior to farrowing. The response is dose dependent, and we have found that feeding 25 grams per meal once per day, for at least three days pre-farrowing, delivers the most consistent and economic results. At $0.33 per feeding, Triad offers a significant return. For example, feeding the product as a top-dress for three days, we expect a 0.33-piglet advantage; thus, the return on investment (ROI) per treated sow ranges from $6 to $13, considering a range of $20 to $40 value per weaned pig, respectively (Figure 1).
Amid the intricate choreography of farrowing, Triad offers a strategic advantage for your operation. The impact of feeding Triad extends beyond singular farrowing events; it contributes to the broader narrative of sustainable pig farming. By adopting Triad, you empower your operation with a tool that aligns with the ethos of progress: healthier sows, thriving piglets, and a resilient swine industry poised for excellence.
1Peppmier et al. J. Anim. Sci. 2022.
2Bents and Galloway. AASV. 2022.
3Bents and Soto. Leman conference. 2023.