Piglets should be fed by size

Tendency to smaller weaning weight requires extra focus on feed and feed switch

Feed intake is the alpha and omega for the piglets performance after weaning

We have in the recent years seen a clear trend that weaning weight is decreasing. The crisis has put a greater demands for additional earnings. It is of course in relation to being able to produce more piglets per year sow.

A lower weaning weights also demand that we adjust how piglets are handled at weaning.

"I see a lot of places where the piglets are fed by a certain number of days per feedmix, which ap-pears to be a sound solution. But it is very important to adjust the number of days to start the first feedmix, if weaning weight drops", says nutritionist Jens Svendgaard (Vilomix DK).

The solution is therefore to customize a strategy after the pig you receive in the weaning unit. 1 kg lower weight at weaning means feeding with the start-feedmix 5-7 days more, while en-suring that the feed is specialized to the size of the pig.

A solution can be adding blood plasma, which makes the beginning after weaning more easy. Blood plasma is a bit expensive, but the advantage is that there is a very high protein digestibil-ity of the product, which makes the pigs eat more.

Costs and benefits

When the nursing period is shortened, it results in a lower weaning weight and this does not only give a pure earnings, as the animals should be fed with more expensive mix to get them gain weight.

If it is assumed that the weaning age is no longer than 28 days but 21 days instead, it gives 0,1 litter extra per year sow or 1,4 extra pigs per year sow. This has a value for a 7 kg’s pig produc-tion of 38 € and for a 30 kg’s pig production of 47 €.

The cost of extra feed at 1 kg lower weaning weight is approx. 0,8 € per produced pig or approx. 23 € per year sow, at 30 pigs per year sow. The gain is typically 24 € per year sow, if you lower the weaning weight with 1 kg.

For 7 kg’s production in DK there this has no benefit because of smaller income if this is calcu-lated with 1,4 €/kg less weight. If the pigs weight is 1 kg less it will mean a loss on 40 € per year sow and since the gain is only 38 €, this may not pay off.

The message here is therefore that it is very important that you look at the facts in your herd and from this make adjustments to find the optimal solution in your case.

You are always welcome to discuss the situation with you Vilomix nutritionist.


April 2018