Your guide to feeding the Stotfold way
AN easy-to-follow guide for feeding the sow through her breeding cycle is supplied in a booklet Improving Sow Productivity – the Stotfold Feeding Strategy, published by the Meat and Livestock Commission.
Based on work at the MLCs Stotfold Pig Development Unit, the feeding strategy has been developed to achieve optimum performance from the main breeds of sow.
For success the MLC recommends strongly that separate diets are offered to both dry and suckling sows. This ensures that todays prolific hybrid sows with limited body fat reserves, retain sufficient body condition to suckle their litters and also rebreed promptly.
These aims demand two diets: One formulated to meet the nutrient drain of a demanding lactation and to correct any loss of body condition in the following pregnancy; the other to encourage the deposition of adequate fat reserves while limiting lean growth in pregnancy.
It is recognised that young sows which are well below their mature body weight, have a high potential for lean growth. Although this represents a need for extra protein and energy intake, the current advice is to limit lean growth in early life and during consecutive pregnancies. This can be achieved by restricting the intake of the amino acid lysine during pregnancy.
At Stotfold, the feeding strategy for all dry sows is to reduce the intake of lysine to 12.4g a day (2.25kg of feed a day supplying 0.55% lysine) for all genotypes. This is designed to reduce lean tissue growth to a level which is below the potential for most genotypes. Recently, energy intake has been increased from 29.7 to 30.5 MJ DE a day with the aim of further increasing the fat reserves and enhancing foetal piglet growth rate.
The main aim in feeding the suckling sow is to meet her needs for milk production while avoiding excessive weight loss. Estimates of the energy needs to satisfy different rates of litter performance while avoiding sow body loss are based on a diet supplying 14.5 MJ DE/kg and a daily intake averaging 7.5kg for a sow nursing 11 piglets. This rises gradually to 11.5kg at 21 days for a sow suckling 13 piglets.
Feeding allowances which are much higher than the natural appetite of sows are likely to discourage intake, particularly when uneaten feed is not removed before it goes stale. At Stotfold all sows are fed to a standard scale in the first 10 days after farrowing. This allows 2.5kg on day one, increasing by 0.5kg a day to reach an allowance of 7kg on day 10. Thereafter sows are treated as individuals by feeding them to a scale based on litter size and piglet growth rate.
Current work at Stotfold is evaluating the feeding of a high density grower type diet for sows to help in the recovery process between weaning and rebreeding. This diet is formulated to provide 14.8 MJ DE/kg and 1.3% lysine. Sows are given 5-6kg/day of feed.n