16 February 1996

Keep sows well fed

LOW temperatures over the past eight weeks could see sows and boars loosing body condition unless given extra feed, warns John Goss, production specialist at PIC UK.

"Minimum critical temperature for group-housed sows on straw is 15C, for those on insulated solid floors it is 17C and outside in steel arks 12C, explains Mr Goss. "Mean daytime and night-time temperatures have been closer to 5C in the past two months, with some areas of the UK as low as 0C.

"Some producers have noticed their sows melting away in the past eight weeks as a result of the cold," he says. For every 5C reduction below the lowest critical temperature he advises feeding an extra 0.25kg a day of feed. "For some herds increases could be about 0.5 to 0.75kg a head." &#42