Aim for the ideal
The importance of continuous evaluation and regulation of body condition cannot be stressed enough. On the ideal farm, at least 90% of the herd should have the ideal body condition to optimise uterine and foetal development and secure uniform piglet production.
Efficient feed management throughout the reproductive cycle is key to achieving the best results (table 4). The protein, lysine, phosphorus and calcium in the feed play an important role at each stage (table 5), along with soluble and insoluble fibre and additional vitamins and minerals.
After insemination, the following three to four weeks are crucial to litter size, as it is during this time that eggs attach to the uterus and embryos start to develop. Sows need 2.5 to 4kg of feed a day to obtain sufficient energy to maintain their own weight and support foetal development.
In the second gestation phase, from 28 to 84 days, feeding levels are typically reduced, depending on an assessment of body condition. Feeding levels are adjusted back up to around 3.5kg for the final three to four weeks before farrowing – contributing to piglet growth and development and priming sow fertility for the next insemination.