Gestation dry sow feeding programs
In order to reach the full potential of modern swine dam lines, you need the right levels of nutrition at each specific period of the productive life of your sows.
A feeding program customized for sows that are dry and in gestation is necessary. Let's take a look at some of the characteristics of both:
Any overfeeding during gestation will compromise the feed intake of sows and gilts in the following lactation. The long-term consequence leads to overweight and premature culling because of reduced productivity or leg problems. A common challenge with gestation feeding is that feed allowance is set according to a subjective assessment of the needs of each sow or group of sows. This assessment is generally based on incorrect assumptions of the sow’s body condition. Underfeeding could also happen leading to more shoulder sores, welfare problems and premature culling.
Often overlooked if not neglected, is the management of dry sow feeding and yet it represents about 70% of all the feed required by a breeding herd and therefore most of the feed bill and the largest environmental impact factor.
Dry sows should be fed as precisely as possible, assessing individual body weight, body condition and back fat depth measurement. For lactation, feeding should focus on maximizing milk production and piglet weight gain.
If intakes are low, it may be necessary to top-dress, ensuring an adequate supply of essential nutrients during lactation (e.g amino acids and functional nutrients).