There’s a lot of practical research that could make a difference to your pig business. Sarah Trickett brings you the top five highlights from the British Society of Animal Science conference.
1. Playing a radio in the farrowing room has been shown to improve sow and piglet welfare by increasing piglet play and reducing abnormal behaviour. (Writtle College)
2. Feeding pelleted and fine-grinding feed improved feed conversion efficiency by 5.2% and 3% respectively in finishing pigs. (AFBI, Hillsborough)
3. Sperm from boars in commercial studs had increased sperm abnormalities during the summer and autumn months, suggesting the decreasing photoperiod and elevated temperatures disrupted sperm development. (University of Leeds)
4. Feeding gilts ad-lib post-insemination does not affect litter size and increases the number of gilts not pregnant. So, if a high plane of nutrition is offered pre-insemination, it should be reduced prior to, or immediately after, insemination. (AFBI, Hillsborough)
5. The protype free-farrowing pen (PigSAFE) being tested commercially on a couple of farms in the UK found the overall design promoted farrowing in the desired location. The study also found there was no benefit to proving more substrate (2kg vs 4kg) for nest building or creating a more enclosed quieter nest area. (Newcastle University)