BPEX blog

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Pig producers must measure performance – and share it with the team

Stockmanship, attention to detail and making full use of data were the big topics throughout the BPEX Breed+3 regional events, which concluded yesterday in Diss.

A range of producers presented what they do on their units to keep improving breeding herd performance; recording and the importance of a good team came up time and again. 

And the two are closely linked, as performance data, targets and progress updates all need to be shared with all pig unit staff, as they are the ones who can ensure the targets are achieved.

Industry experts Sylviane Boulot, David Chennells and John Richardson also gave clarity on what we should be focusing on to wean more piglets per sow and showed just how important it is to measure and analyse your costings and performance figures.

As one producer put it, “If you don’t measure it, how do you know where you are, where you want to go and how do you know when you’ve got there? Poor information will only lead to poor management decisions.”

It’s well worth having a look at all their presentations, available here

Friday, 8 November 2013

Feeding gilts for first lactation

It is vital that the gilt consumes enough nutrients to produce an ample supply of milk for her litter and to maintain her body condition, so she loses no more than 0.5 in body condition score.  

Increasing the lactation diet specification to a ration with at least 14 MJ DE and 1% lysine per kilogram is one option, with many producers using a higher specification gilt lactator diet; producers should discuss the options with their nutritionist.

However, the greatest challenge is stimulating the gilt to eat a sufficient quantity. A gilt’s appetite can be influenced by events prior to farrowing, as well as how well she is managed while lactating. It’s been shown that the higher a gilt’s feed intake is during gestation, the lower it is during lactation.

Appetite can also be affected by changes in environment pre-farrowing, when the gilt moves into farrowing accommodation.

For more information on how to manage these challenges, talk to one of us in the knowledge transfer team or download Knowledge Transfer Bulletin no.7, The first lactation: a feeding review from www.bpex.org.uk/2TS/publications