Judge timing right and avoid empty sow days

10 October 1997

Judge timing right and avoid empty sow days

Closer matching of nutrients to a pigs needs and improving

fertility and feeding management were discussed at a pig

profitability workshop. Jonathan Riley reports

CAREFUL management of boars and a better understanding of ovulation timing could reduce the number of empty days in sows, according to president of the pig veterinary society, Christianne Glossop.

Speaking at a Pig Profitability Workshop at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, Dr Glossop said that maximising pig production depended on cutting the number of empty days.

She advised that sows must, therefore, be exposed to the boar straight after weaning so that they are inseminated as early as possible.

"But on many units weaned sows are not given the right length of exposure to the boar. Boar pens also need to be sited where they can achieve nose-to-nose contact with the sow," she said.

Exposure times should be about 20 minutes a day and during this time sows must be observed continually for signs of heat.

Onset of ovulation occurred most commonly 32-48 hours after the standing heat begins. But the range of onset is far larger and the length of heat varies from sow to sow.

"However, research has shown that ovulation occurs 70% of the way through a heat and, therefore, sows could be categorised according to timing of onset and length of heat.

"Recording when each sow commences standing oestrus and the length of the heat could be used to predict when the individual is likely to be ovulating."

Dr Christianne Glossop: Maximising pig production depends on cutting empty days.

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