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ForFarmers investigates nutritional solutions to influence farrowing process in Sows

Press Release Press Release22-10-2018

ForFarmers has run a number of trials investigating different nutritional solutions to enhance piglet vitality, including optimising nutrition to support the sow during the farrowing process. The trials programme follows a piglet vitality workshop hosted by ForFarmers Nutrition Innovation Centre earlier this year at which leading academics and researchers exchanged the science and innovations in the area of piglet vitality.

During the workshop, Dr. Pieter Langendijk, Senior Research Scientist Nutreco, showed the importance of the farrowing process and its effect on the later stages of the pig’s life. This was demonstrated in trial data which indicated significantly lower numbers of stillborn piglets recovered during caesarean section procedure when compared with litters from conventional farrowing process.

Professor Sandra Edwards, University of Newcastle, has researched for many years as to how to define piglet vitality and what criteria, other than birth weight, is tangible. She discussed the importance of oocyte quality, key to piglet vitality, and how this can be influenced by pre-insemination nutrition.

As a consequence of the workshop, a number of innovation trials have been established with the objective of supporting ForFarmers’ customers in taking the next step in enhancing the vitality of piglets from larger litters.

In one of the trials, feed treatments aimed at speeding up the farrowing process, whilst supporting the sow during farrowing, were investigated. Infrared cameras monitored the farrowing of 150 sows and a detailed analysis of the different feed treatments was completed. This analysis included the application of Professor Edwards’ vitality criteria to quantify the vitality of individual piglets from each litter.

Results from the trials conducted have already identified a number of potential opportunities for ForFarmers to further enhance piglet vitality through nutrition. Further trials are planned to start in the coming months focusing on gestation feeding schedules and feeding quantities, as well as a parity booster to support, amongst other functions, the energy level of the sow during farrowing.

Torsten Kohler, ForFarmers Innovation Manager, Sows comments on the importance of this research, “Following the farrowing process with infrared cameras is an excellent opportunity to study the vitality traits of the piglets in detail without any disturbance. The results of this trial have significantly improved our understanding of the mineral metabolism and will be part of our sow diets in the future. Sow nutrition consists of both the diets as well as their application. So on one hand we are busy checking all nutritional hypothesis we defined during the workshop and on the other hand we are investigating the impact of different diet applications regarding sow and piglet vitality, health and longevity.”

The outcome of the overall innovation programme will enable ForFarmers, as a leader in sow nutrition, to support it’s customers in taking the next step in sow nutrition and superior piglet vitality, for the Future of Farming.

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