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Development of the sow caliper
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Development of the sow caliper

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  1. Development of the sow caliper 2014 Swine Educators In-Service October 1, 2014 Knauer, M. T., and M. Bryan mtknauer@ncsu.edu

  2. NCSU Swine Extension Specialist • Focus • Swine genetics and production management • Appointment • 70% extension, 30% research • Start date – July 2011

  3. Training graduate students • Animal Science – Animal Breeding & Genetics • M.S. (4) • John Langdon • Cassie Ferring • Austin Putz • Matt Morrison • PhD (2) • Emily Cook • Miranda Bryan

  4. Evaporative Cooling Genetics of piglet quality Pellet quality Selection for improved reproduction under heat stress Sow body condition

  5. Outline Making a case for objective body condition tools Research associating body condition and reproduction Economic impact of implementing the sow caliper Example feeding strategies Summary

  6. Sow feeding management concepts • Repartition gestation intake to lactation • Reducing gestation feed intake improves • Feed cost • Subsequent lactation feed intake • Increasing lactation feed intake improves • Litter weight gain • Wean-to-estrous interval • Subsequent farrowing rate • Subsequent litter size • Cull weight

  7. Concept of repartitioning gestation feed to lactation Superior reproductive throughput

  8. Feeding based on visual body condition Pros Cons Requires continuous training Farm to farm variation Potential for reduce profitability • Inexpensive

  9. Problem – visual BCS • If you cannot objectively measure body condition • How will you • manage it? • will you improve?

  10. Validating problems with BCS Thin Optimal Fat Sow caliper score

  11. Differences in body condition Farm 1 Farm 2

  12. Problem – visual BCS Underfeeding Overfeeding High feed costs Farrowing problems Increased preweaning mortality Impaired reproduction Well-being concerns

  13. High feed costs Farrowing problems ↑ preweaning mortality Problem – visual BCS Impaired reproduction Well-being concern Optimal Sow caliper score

  14. Adoption of objective body condition tools Standardize farms & people Train new/existing employees to visually score sow condition Fast and accurate tools will reduce weaned pig cost

  15. Exp. 1 – Define ideal body condition in relation to reproduction Commercial sow farm in eastern NC August 2012 - May 2013 1,500 whiteline sows Multiparous

  16. Sow housing • Stalls • Weaning to ~35 days • Pens • ~35 days to farrowing • 8×10ft • 4 to 5 sows per pen

  17. Body condition traits • Caliper score (CS) • Weight (WT) • Backfat (BF) • Loin eye area (LEA) • Visual BCS • 1-5 by experienced technician

  18. Using the caliper – find the last rib

  19. An objective body condition tool – the sow caliper Knauer sow body condition caliper

  20. The concept… Adapted from Edmonson et al. (1989)

  21. The concept… Adapted from Edmonson et al. (1989)

  22. Statistical analysis • Data analyzed with SAS using PROC GLM • Fixed effects • group • barn • group x barn interaction • parity • Example model • reproductive trait = group + barn + group*barn + parity + body condition trait

  23. Relationships between body condition measures at breeding with subsequent reproductive performance = (P<0.05) 2Denotes quadratic body condition term. NBA= number born alive, BW= litter birth weight, NW= number weaned, WW= litter weaning weight, PS= piglet survival, WCI=wean-to-conception interval.

  24. Optimum sow caliper score for piglet survival

  25. Lighter weight sows had greater piglet survival Parity p>0.05

  26. Optimum sow caliper score for reproductive throughput

  27. Exp. 2 – Define ideal body condition change in relation to reproduction • Commercial sow farm in eastern NC • 885 sows • 250 gilts • Smithfield Premium Genetics • February to August, 2013

  28. Traits measured Ultrasound backfat Sow caliper 234 Heart girth (gilts) Farm body condition score

  29. Backfat, BCS, caliper and gilt weight traits Gestation gain Gain late gestation Gain early gestation gestation breeding day 35 day 105

  30. Statistical analysis • 24 body condition traits related to reproduction • Data analyzed with SAS using PROC GLM • Fixed effects • farrowing group • parity • Example model • reproductive trait = farrowing group + parity + body condition trait

  31. Results – in general • Reproduction associated with • Gilts • body condition change but not specific body condition • Sows • specific body condition but not body condition change

  32. Results - gilts = (P<0.05) NBA= number born alive, STB= stillborn, NW= number weaned.

  33. Results - sows = (P<0.05) NBA= number born alive, STB= stillborn, NW= number weaned.

  34. Gilts that gained condition during gestation farrowed fewer piglets

  35. Identifying “ideal” sow body condition Exp. 1 Exp. 2

  36. Benchmarking gestation feed intake Gestation feed intake per day, lb. Agri Stats 2005 to 2010

  37. 18,000 sows - implementation of sow caliper in 2013 savings of $285,000, $15.82 per sow 8 farms – 18,000 sows

  38. 18,000 sows - implementation of sow caliper in 2013

  39. Fast improvement in sow herd body condition possible Optimal Average herd caliper score improved from 18.2 to 15.0 in four months

  40. Implications – feeding management increase feed 2 lb caliper ≤ 11 = 5 lb caliper =12 to 15 = ? lb caliper ≥ 16 = 3.5 lb 3.5 lb Gilts Gestation breeding ~day 7 day 93

  41. Implications – feeding management Sows increase feed ??? caliper ≤ 11 = 5 lb caliper =12 to 15 = ? lb caliper ≥ 16 = 3.5 lb ad libitum Lactation W2E Gestation breeding day 93

  42. Implications – feeding management increase feed 2 lb caliper ≤ 11 = 5 lb caliper =12 to 15 = ? lb caliper ≥ 16 = 3.5 lb 3.5 lb Gilts Gestation Sows breeding ~day 7 day 93 increase feed ??? caliper ≤ 11 = 5 lb caliper =12 to 15 = ? lb caliper ≥ 16 = 3.5 lb ad libitum Lactation W2E Gestation breeding day 93

  43. Implications – feeding management • Feeding level for “ideal” females may vary between farms • Variation in drop boxes, etc. • Caliper usage • Gilts • ~7 days after breeding • every 3 to 5 weeks - as needed • Sows • at breeding • every 3 to 5 weeks - as needed • 90% of sows should be “ideal” (caliper score of 12 to 15) at day 93 of gestation

  44. Summary • Repartitioning gestation feed intake to lactation can improve herd reproduction/profitability • The sow caliper is an objective tool that can be used to manage body condition • We recommend maintaining sows at a caliper score between a 12 and 15 • Sow calipers are available to the public – contact mtknauer@ncsu.edu

  45. Summary • Sows • “Ideal” body condition in relation to sow reproductive throughput was identified • Heavy sows have greater preweaning mortality • Gilts • A one caliper score increase in body condition during gestation decreased NBA by 0.57 piglets

  46. Body condition extension materials • Sow body condition poster • Free • Available @ pork.org – Pork Store

  47. Thank you Dave Baitinger Dr. Dustin Kendall Mark Daughtry Tommie Dale Bob Ivey Stacey Jones Dr. Cary Sexton Miranda Bryan Frank Hollowell

  48. Thank you for your time Mark Knauer mtknauer@ncsu.edu