8 Factors to consider when putting together the perfect sow feeding program
In order to maximize the full potential of modern day sow genetics, a precise feeding program during gestation and lactation is essential.
Producers need the right sow program to ensure the right levels of nutrition at each specific period of the productive life of their sows.
In order to formulate tailor-made dry sow and lactation feeding programs that meets the sow’s energy requirements, the following factors should be taken into consideration:
- Live weight (parity): live weight is related to parity number and is the most important determinant of a sow’s nutrient requirements.
- Fat depth: back fat measurements at weaning helps to determine the loss in lactation and to adjust the feed allowance for adequate recovery during the subsequent pregnancy.
- Genotype: not all commercially available sow genetic lines have the same target for weight and back fat gain per parity. It is critical to adjust the feed allowance in gestation according to these goals.
- Productivity: the litter size and birth weight influence the nutrient needs of sows.
- Room temperature: cooler temperature will increase nutrient requirements.
- Group or individual housing: this will have an impact on maintenance requirements (activity) and heat loss.
- Environment: feed phases and other inputs can be adjusted for different housing facilities and management of the farm – different feeds in gestation, such as early and late gestation, transition and/or lactation feed.
- Feed: the MISSION sow model will simulate the feeds used inthe barn (dry sow, lactation, transition, breeder or any other feeds). The model can also calculate blends of two feeds to match the requirements of sows according to their parity, body condition and gestation phase.