Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Increasing litter size and weaning more pigs per sow are the current priorities for pig producers who are aiming for more cost-efficient breeding herds, which is what the BPEX Breed+3 initiative is all about.
The two factors that have a significant impact on productivity and cost efficiency, which are numbers of piglets born and piglet mortality, are also two of the most straightforward areas to record and monitor, to help target and achieve improvements.
Sow cards or a specific mortality data sheet can be used to record numbers born and the age, piglet condition and causes of pre-weaning mortality. Totalling up the numbers, either each month or per farrowing batch, will illustrate successes and highlight areas where improvements can be made.
To decide how to improve survival rates, it is important to combine recorded data with quality stock observations. For example, your records might highlight that a major cause of death is overlying. Then stock observation will help you determine whether this is primarily due to: over-fat clumsy sows, creeps that are too hot or cold, draughts leading to restless sows and chilled pigs, poor crate design or lack of milk, meaning piglets are continually close to the sow and in the danger area.