Fig. - Milk yield of sows according the quantity of nursed piglets
Source: SEGES 2013
The systems that provide artificial milk in each farrowing crate allow to close the bridge between the physiological needs of the piglets and the production of milk of the sow.
Liquid feeding system for piglets: an extra step
to improve your herd productivity
Field experience in Russia
One of Otrada's clients has successfully introduced such liquid feeding system for piglets and can in first approach share the following improvements:
It's not only about extra weaned piglets!
the efficiency of the sow herd and of the farrowing crates improves and it is possible to further optimize the sow herd size of each pig operation;
with less time spent with the organization of the adoption of piglets between biological and foster mothers, there can be more time allowed to the observation, proper care and feeding of the sows and the piglets;
with less movement of animals in general, the sows are calmer and there is a general improvement of the health status of the piglets;
several studies link the use of a liquid feeding system with improved piglet immunity and better finishing results (improved survival rate and increased slaughter weight at the same age). In the current case, it is too early to confirm these expectations.
The positive consequences of the use of this kind of system might slightly differ for each specific farm and level of technical results, of course.
far less use of foster sows, as the ratio "weaned per crate/weaned per litter" improved from 88% to 97%, indicating that almost all the piglets are weaned without use of foster mothers. There is still some balancing of the quantity and size of suckling piglets at each mother, but the movements of piglets or sows are considerably reduced;
improved piglet survival, resulting in an increase of the quantity of weaned piglet per litter of +0.6 piglet (from 16.0 to 16.6 weaned piglets per litter);
on overall, the sow productivity gained an extra weaned 2.4 piglets per sow per year (from 37.5 to 39.9);
improved herd turnover from 2.35 to 2.40 farrowing per sow per year.
There are other positive aspects correlated to the use of the system:
Years of genetic improvement of the Danish lines have greatly increased the sow productivity and the quantity of born alive piglets.
With the proper management and practice (split suckling, step fostering, use of foster sows), it is possible to reach high level of piglet survival. The milk production per sow during the lactation still remains a physiological bottleneck (in link with the feed intake and the water intake), even if the proper management and care is given to the sow as illustrated in the Figure.