12 December 1997

Sow feed warning

PIG producers could risk underfeeding sows because much of this years cereal crop has a low bushel weight making the feed more bulky, which reduces the weight of each scoopful.

Cotswold Pig Development Companys Mike Williamson warns that the density of feeds could be 15% less than normal.

One herd was found to be feeding sows 2.25kg instead of 3kg. If this had continued, sow condition would have deteriorated, reducing numbers born a litter and milk quality, he says.

Banbury Agriculture pig nutritionist Caroline Bevan suggests sows which are scoop-fed are most likely to be underfed, and the effects of underfeeding will take time to show. But automatic feeding systems can also be based on feed volume, she cautions, and may, therefore, need some adjustment.

She advises calibrating feeders after every new load of grain as density of grain varies from load to load and with different varieties.

Low density grain causes more concern in meal fed pigs than pelleted fed ones, but the latter are still at risk of underfeeding, she says.