BPEX blog

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Keep the herd young


The Fenlands Pig Club heard about some of things that can be changed on farm to achieve the ‘Two-Tonne Sow’ target. Production manager Paul Bradley, from Ermine Farms, is producing 29 pigs per sow per year and there are a couple of areas that he said have made a big difference for their 700-sow unit…
  • Managing parity profile to maintain a young herd: Younger sows are more productive and better able to rear a litter of 12 piglets. Paul used to do a couple of shunt fosters per week but rarely needs to any more.
  • Using a ‘skip a heat’ policy: Paul allows six or seven gilts per week to skip a heat after their first litter and have another cycle, allowing the uterus to fully recover and also to regain any lost body condition. Paul says this always pays off for them and avoids the ‘second litter drop syndrome’ that can follow on from weight loss during a gilt’s first lactation.
Get in touch with me if you’d like to discuss these ideas further or would like advice on any other aspect of breeding herd management.

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