22 June 2001

Better service saves £s

SERVING up to 10% more sows from July to September will reduce losses of up to £16,000/year for a 460-sow herd, says pig breeding company Cotswold.

Records from a 460-sow herd the company is involved with show farrowings consistently fall from 20 litters a week to 18 from November to January, says its consultant Paul Wright.

"The 24 fewer litters over this period – equivalent to about 228 piglets – represent nearly £16,000 in lost turnover when pigs are finished," says Mr Wright.

But serving an extra two sows or gilts a week during July, August and September can help overcome the problem.

"Many producers have extra cull sows which cant be sold at the moment," he says. "So it makes sense to serve them as a hedge against the autumn/winter dip in farrowings. The extra cost of feeding 24 sows for 20 weeks will be about £1320 – a tiny amount in relation to the potential benefit."

Even when wallows and sunshades are provided, summer infertility can be a problem, he adds. &#42