February 14, 2018
By: Gilbert VandenHeuvel
Increasing Piglet Viability, Pre-Weaning
As we continue to select sow genetics for increased litter size we also increase the number of low birth weight piglets and greater variability in piglet body weights.
Piglet with lower birth weights usually:
- Have a decreased survival rate throughout the production system
- Experience poorer weight gains throughout the production system
- Have more days to market then their larger litter mates
Dr. Ruth Wonfor: IBERS, Aberystwyth University
Emma Catharine Greenwood , Thesis, 2012
Birth weight is one of the major factors shown to be positively correlated with piglet survival It is estimated that an increase in birth weight of 200g can increase weight gain from birth to slaughter by 24 g a day (King et al. 2006). (Reference 2)
Table 1. Weights of piglets and litters depending on the number of piglets born alive per litter.
This chart clearly shows what happens to avg piglet weight and % of low viable pigs as born alive numbers goes up.
|Piglet born alive →||8||9||10||11||12||13||14||15||16||17||19|
|Average piglet weight, kg||1.64||1.65||1.65||1.45||1.36||1.31||1.25||1.25||1.25||1.20||1.18|
|Average litter weight, kg||13.2||14.8||16.5||16.1||16.5||16.8||17.4||19.0||19.9||20.4||22.9|
|% of piglets <1kg||0||0||0||9||13||15||21||13||18||29||31|
|% of piglets <1.3kg||13||12||10||27||41||46||55||53||55||59||52|
J Anim Sci.
FACT: There is a linear relationship between weaning weight and ADG in the post-nursery phase of growth. We have concluded that a weaning weight of less than 5.0 kg imposes the greatest marginal loss in production output for a 20 day weaned piglet. (Reference 1)
A trial that shows Birth weight is the main factor affecting performance
Pigs were divided into four groups depending on birth weight: <1kg, from 1 to 1.3 kg, from 1.3 to 1.7 kg and >1.7 kg. The average parity of the four groups was similar. However, litter size decreased from 14.0 piglets to 11.2 piglets as the birth weight increased. The initial difference in the average weight of the animals in groups <1 and >1.7 kg at birth was around 1kg and it became a 21 kg difference at slaughter. When calculated by regression, 100g of a difference in birth weight became 1.3 kg of a difference in carcass weight. Www.Pig333.com (Reference 3)
Proper sow nutrition during pregnancy is an important detail that will help to increase number of pigs born and piglet birth weight. Your nutritionist will be a big help in building a solid sow feeding program that will lead to bigger piglets being born and the sow having the capacity to provide ample milk for a larger litter.
Having a feed delivery system that is dependable is important to litter size. Missing a feeding here and there at critical times during pregnancy can have a significant role in the piglet numbers and birth weight.
With a sow record keeping system in place, it could be beneficial to try different trials to target in on the best feeding strategy for your sows.
Below are a number of facts that show the importance of your piglets getting off to a strong start.
Kathryn Reid in the latest Teagasc Advisory Newsletter.
Did you know?
- 60 per cent of fetal growth occurs in the last 30 days of gestation.
- Farrowing house temperature should be increased to 24°C before the first piglet is born.
- Farrowing should be complete within five hours; exceeding six hours can double incidence of stillbirths.
- After stillbirths, crushing is the second biggest cause of piglet mortality.
- (Small weak piglets are much more likely to not be able to get our of the way of the sow)
- Pre-weaning mortality can be reduced by 18% and stillbirths halved with good supervision. However, excessive disturbance can stress sows, prolonging farrowing and increasing pre-weaning mortality.
- Cross fostering can reduce pre-weaning mortality by 40 per cent.
- Colostrum antibody levels drop 50 per cent within six hours of the first suckling.
Dr Keelin O’Driscoll and Dr Peadar Lawlor of Moorepark
Management strategies to keep young pigs alive
Once these low viable pigs are born the focus will then be on investigating methods to keep them alive. Again, nutritional strategies must be explored to ensure that colostrum quality is optimized.
Management strategies to reduce pre-weaning mortality in large litters:
Strategic use of nurse sows to reduce piglet mortality
Strategic use of Rescue Decks to reduce piglet mortality
Strategic use of energy supplements to reduce piglet mortality
Producers have tried to improve results by cross fostering or using foster sows. But the results were not always satisfactory and this procedure does not suit all-in-all-out management. It became clear that help was needed to improve survival rates in the farrowing house using a new and different approach. (Reference 5)
Creep feed provision during suckling By Dr. Ruth Wonfor: IBERS, Aberystwyth University
In order to reach growth and efficiency potential, of even traditional breeds, you should really work out how best to support the nutrient supply to the piglet from the sow’s milk production. Milk replacers can be provided to piglets whilst they are still suckling, although intake is variable before piglets are weaned. Creep feeding at an early stage often gives piglets an extra enhancement in growth rate, especially in larger litter sizes. The creep feed also helps to better prepare the piglet for weaning making the gut adapt to a different feed source, which better equips them to digest the feed given at weaning. However, it must be noted that although this will better prepare piglets for the weaning period, the management strategy has minimal effects on piglet survival, and does not benefit piglet mortality in the first 3 days after birth. Therefore, creep feeding is something to be considered before weaning to ease the transition. The use of creep feed is also likely to have a benefit on the sow’s body condition through a reduction in piglet dependence on the mother’s milk and also eating of her food. An elongated reliance on the sow without the use of a creep feed will manifest on further production traits of the mother related to getting the sow pregnant again soon. (Reference 6)
Dwyer Mfg is proud to offer the MIK creep feeding pan for feeding dry feed or milk replacer to piglets in the farrowing or nursery room.
This 3.5 liter (29.5 cm/11 inch) feeder is made from high quality plastic that easy to clean. The six space stable divider and high sides keeps feed wastage to a minimum.
We would be happy to price one feeder for your trial or enough to give all your piglets that important early boost that will benefit it’s growth the whole way through the production system.
Dwyer Mfg Milk Replacer System
The Milk Replacer Bowls can be in a rescue deck or in the creep area depending on the individual production style and barn layout. The bowl itself has a specially designed drinker nipple that does not let the liquid siphon back into the system or let the liquid overflow the bowl which leads to spoilage and wastage.
Milk replacer is supplied to the bowls through a precision pumping system from a storage tank through PVC pipe and specially made long elbows to keep pressure reduction to a minimum. A rescue deck would contain three cups: one for the water and two for milk.
The equipment is supplied by Dwyer Mfg and the milk replacer comes from Purina Agribrands. Bob TenHove can be counted on to help design a feeding strategy that works best for your farm. 519-440-6510
Purina has two quality liquid products that the system can use.
Pig Tech RescueMilk is specially formulated, highly palatable milk replacer for light and weak piglets. It is designed as a replacement to sows’ milk, for orphan and starve-out pigs or as a management tool to supplement large litters. Click on link for detailed info: Purina RescueMilk
Pig Tech Smooth is a specially formulated liquid prestarter for extra high feed intake and smooth weaning. It is designed to complement sow’s milk and bridge the nutritional gap between what she can produce and what her piglets require for optimum growth. Smooth is a unique replacement for sow’s milk or older pigs up to 10 days old. Click on link for detailed info: Purona Pig Tech Smooth
Outperforming litter mates
By Pieter Wolleswinkel, Provimi, the Netherlands
Research indicates that all piglets perform well in a Rescue Deck: healthy piglets, small piglets and lagging piglets. Piglets with a normal birth weight were selected and placed into a Rescue Deck as they had insufficient sow milk intake at day 4 (limited stomach fill). These piglets recovered in a Rescue Deck and by day 14 post-weaning they had equaled piglets raised on the sow. This demonstrated the positive effect of the Rescue Deck system on gut development, where piglets hardly faced a weaning dip. This is a result of the high feed intake in the Rescue Deck – piglets could typically achieve intakes of 3 kg of Rescue Milk and 3kg of prestarter until weaning.
In general, the Rescue Deck reduces piglet mortality by 3% to 5% depending on the initial situation. Average weaning weight improves by approximately 350 g for all piglets as the remaining piglets have more space at the udder. And finally, the litter index improves as less foster sows are required. To obtain these results, one Rescue Deck per 12 sows is needed but this ultimately depends on the litter sizes.
Looking at the bottom line, A well managed milk replacer system can deliver:
4% reduction in piglet mortality. That means 635 piglets extra weaned per year on a 500 head sow herd.
350 g increase in weaning weight. 5,000 kg extra weaning weight per year.
The payback time is less then 1 year, not including growth benefits in the grower and finisher barn (24 grams per day benefit x 170 days = 4 kg).
Given the ongoing development of pig production such investments are required to keep performance at the required level. These tools can be cost-effective. Most importantly, they provide a means of harnessing the progress made in litter sizes and ensuring that piglet output moves in the same direction.
Dwyer Mfg and Purina Agribrand are ready to help you make your operation the best it can be.
Feel free to talk to Mike or Joe for equipment options and pricing.
6. Read entire article here: https://businesswales.gov.wales/farmingconnect/posts/improving-piglet-survival-nutritional-approach-sow-piglet
Agricultural Technology New In 2017
As 2017 is coming to an end, it’s a fitting time to look back at some of the new innovations that Dwyer Manufacturing has done and then a number of new innovations from the world wide Agricultural Industry.
Dwyer Manufacturing’s new designs/products for 2017
High Moisture Corn Surge Bin To solve a common problem on farms feeding high moisture corn, a low cost surge bin that will hold and unload ground high moisture corn was designed and built. An all stainless steel hopper is fastened under a vertical poly tank with a simple sweep on the bottom to keep the material flowing. A heavy duty motor and gearbox run the sweep and a flex or rigid auger takes the material away.
Organic/Humane Farrowing Pen With the increasing interest in organic pork production, Dwyer Mfg has put together an organic / humane farrowing pen. The pen will allow the sow and piglets ample room to move around and nest in the supplied straw or shavings. To insure the safety of the farm staff, containment sides can be swung around to keep the sow from injuring workers during periods of piglet management.
Slat Gap Cover Converting a sow or finishing barn to an organic system means that the solid area needs to increase from a conventional system. Pouring another layer of concrete over fully slatted floors can be time consuming and problematic depending on the barn design. Another option is using a Slat Gap Cover. The plastic Slat Gap Cover pieces are are pushed into the openings of the slat. While being easy to cut to length and quick to push into place, Slat Gap Covers are extremely difficult to remove and stand up to everyday conditions in a pig barn very well.
International Agricultural Innovation
By no means is this a complete list of world wide Ag innovation, just a number of items that have caught my eye.
Drone Crop Scouting
Drone technology has advanced quickly in the last 12 months. Many of the units now almost fly themselves. Gone are the days of crashing into trees and buildings since the modern drones have sensors (directional and altitude) that make them much easier to operate.
With the better hardware comes increased value in what they can do. Basic areal photography and video can be very useful. A drone will allow you to scout general condition of your crop or record on video of how much of your field was hit by frost and then use that video recording to report to your crop insurance agent to make the decision of replanting or not much more timely.
Thermal imagery can tell you where weeds patches are or where a drainage tile is broken.
More information from a Canadian company click HERE
If nothing else, you can use this information to convince your wife why you really need to get a drone because it will make you money.
Driver-less Tractors and Field-Bots
With big acreage fields, the autonomous tractor could be a piece of equipment your children will consider. With so many hours just sitting in your conventional or GPS guided tractor, why bother sitting there at all? With the proper setup and open fields, this type of equipment can do a precise job while you do something more meaningful.
See CaseIH video on this technology HERE.
For smaller more precise farming, a field bot could be the solution. Robot precision farming not only promises to increase yields by optimizing growth and harvesting processes, but can also lead to a reduction in fertilizer and herbicide usage and improve soil quality through more targeted interventions.
“We are starting to see more and more robots on the farm, doing farm tasks and eventually, we are going to get to the stage where you see semi-automated or even fully automated farms happening.”
Salah Sukkarieh, director of research and innovation, Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR)
Polystyrene Concrete Blocks
While maybe not the newest technology on the list, it seems to be gaining steam as new construction techniques are being developed to use concrete that has recycled plastics in it.
Not only does it reduce landfill, the concrete is given some insulating properties while keeping its strength and reducing weight. Maybe these will be used in pig barns some day.
For more information click HERE
Farm Data Management
Having more data shouldn’t be anyone’s goal, but turning that data into information that will allow you to farm smarter and more profitable is a worthy task.
Modern tractors, planting, fertilizing and harvesting equipment all have technology built into them to not only control the machine but also to collect multiple streams of data.
Numerous companies are emerging that have developed software that takes that data and transforms it into useful information in the form of crops maps & charts to help you make a plan to maximize next year’s cropping plan.
Topcon is one such company. Get information on them HERE Granular is another company that pulls your whole farm operation’s information together. Information video HERE
On any farm, the investment in equipment to prepare the land, to plant, to tend to the crop and to harvest the crop can be huge. With so much money tied up into equipment, you want it to run at it’s peak each and every day without major breakdowns. Equipment manufactu
rers have been adding sensors onto engines to keep track of hours of use to schedule regular maintenance. With remote access to the tractors logistics, a mechanic from miles away can access and diagnose the problem to get it running quickly.
For information on the John Deere system click HERE
Scanning Animals in a Variety of Ways
1. In the pig barn, the highest mortality rate is in the farrowing crate with many of those deaths being caused by crushing by the sow. Tending to the well being of the sow is a good start to reducing the mortality number caused by the sow. Brown-Brandl and a team of scientists from China, Iowa Select Farms and Iowa State University developed a system to automatically process and analyse 3-D images of sows. A camera mounted over birthing crates captures images to determine a sow’s behaviour and posture: if she’s eating, drinking, standing, sitting, or lying down. The system, which accurately classifies behaviour, could potentially help prevent sows from crushing their piglets. See the whole article HERE
2. Regular ultrasound checks for gilt back fat and muscle scores is a common job but with a skittish animal, it can be a dangerous job too. A safer method is being used at a Hycor facility in France developed by Biotronics. Basically, it’s a unit that the gilts walk into and are lifted up to immobilize them to allow
the technician to safely and accurately scan for muscle and back fat measurements. To read an article on the machine and concept click HERE. To see the machine itself click for video HERE.
Growing Meat in a Lab
With conflicting tasks such as feeding the world’s population ever increasing desire for meat and the need to treat our environment better, one solution is growing meat in a laboratory.
Here is the “how to” part taken from an article in ABC Science News. See complete article HERE
The science of growing meat
The process starts with taking a small biopsy from a cow to harvest stem cells from muscle tissue.
“Our bodies have stem cells just sitting there waiting to repair tissue,” Professor Post says.
“If our muscle gets injured, these stem cells start to proliferate and form muscle tissue … instead of scar tissue. We are basically using that mechanism to create muscle tissue outside of the body.”
The extracted stem cells are then encouraged to proliferate in a nutrient rich, blood-infused broth.
Placed in a collagen gel, muscle cells have a unique ability to self organise into muscle fibre — contracting, maturing, strengthening and thickening over a few weeks.
Combine 10,000 of these muscle fibers, massage them with some salt, add breadcrumbs, spices — and dinner’s served — you have a hamburger.
Add fat tissue, and you have something that tastes even more like the meat you’d carve off a cow to serve with chips and salad.
In the four years since their prototype was made public, Professor Post’s team has been hard at work.
“We have transformed the culture system into something that can be scaled [up for industry], we have improved the protein quality, and perhaps most importantly, we have created fat tissue. Fat helps make meat tasty, and taste matters in this quest. A lot.”
I know I’d try it, would you?
From all of us to you and your family, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
November 16. 2017
Written by Gilbert VandenHeuvel
How To Conduct On-Farm Swine Feed Trials
A fact that we know all too well is: Feed is the single highest cost to grow a pig from weaning to market weights. Those who can make each feed dollar count will be more successful then those that don’t. Dwyer Manufacturing succeeds when you succeed. Feel free to contact us to design solutions to help you weigh your pigs and/or feed. If you need a simple pig scale or a central group weighing platform, we can get it done.
Remember that even a small improvement in feed conversion or average daily gain will quickly pay for the time and equipment needed to conduct an accurate feed trial.
qualify that university or feed company product claims work on your farm with your pigs.
evaluate specific genetics
test different equipment on your farm
test different feed components or ration design
generate a cost of production for your farm (this isn’t necessarily a feed trial, but it should have the same methodology)
No information is better then the wrong information.
Attention to detail is vital when conducting a feed trial. If it’s done carelessly, there is a high probability that the information generated will be misleading. Decisions made from the wrong information will probably be wrong thus costing you more money then if you didn’t change anything at all.
The key to conducting a meaningful trial is to:
minimize differences in pig performance that could be caused by factors other than the feed
provide a sound basis for ensuring that the results are reputable and valid for use
compare only two differences at once.
The most practical feed trials are those conducted on grower and finisher pigs. Trials done in the sow barn are difficult to keep statistically accurate since larger numbers of sows need to be in the trial and all these sows need to be similar in genetics, parity and housing conditions.
Weigh pigs and Feed. A reliable method of weighing pigs in and out and weighing feed is a must. The pig scale can be a single animal scale or a group scale, both will work fine. It’s been my experience that an electronic group scale in a central location works the best. Once the pigs use it once, they will move easily towards it and they seem to enjoy the activity. Feed weighing can be more difficult. Computerized liquid or dry delivery system is the best way but a feed volume counter can be installed above test pens or feed can be delivered in bags or weighed feed carts. Let me repeat, if the pigs and feed are not weighed accurately then there is little sense in spending the time and effort of the trial. Find a system that works in your facility and get the trial going. If an animal needs to be pulled from the trial due to illness or dies, weigh it so the data can be adjusted and remain statistically correct. At the end of the trial, remember to subtract any feed left in the feeders from the total feed usage number.
Understand and Manage Variability or Chance Variation. No matter how well you sort the two test groups to be alike there will always be a difference in their growth performance that you can’t anticipate or control. This can range from genetics to illness to mechanical issues. Scientists will talk about coefficient of variation with this issue which get complicated quickly. For a barn trial, take care to limit variation among the test groups and repeat the trial 2 or 3 times to minimize the effect of variation on the results.
Have Adequate Replication. Having only one pen of pigs per feed type in a trial may cause misleading results. Replication is important to minimize mistakes and ensure correct conclusions. If the number of pens per feed type requirements cannot be met at one time, repeat the trial over time using successive groups of pigs. Be sure to have the same number of pens available for each feed type during each time period.
Select the Proper Pens. All the pens used in a trial must be the same size with the same environmental conditions, feeders and water supply system. Keep in mind when selecting the pens to be used that the location will not influence the trial results. Figure 2 demonstrates a reasonable pen selection.
Minimize Pig Weight, Ancestry and Gender Effects. Pigs perform differently because of their weight, ancestry and Gender. These effects must be equalized across all feed types in the trial. The number of barrows does not need to be the same as the number of gilts in a given pen; however, the ratio of barrows to gilts and total number of pigs must be the same in each pen. All pigs should be randomly assigned to pens to ensure the integrity of the experiment. Starting weight of each group should be within 5% of each other to be considered similar. If this is not the case then pigs need to relocated to bring this difference within 2%. In addition, it’s important to minimize weight variation within pens as much as possible.
Select Suitable Test Animals. It is not unusual that a pig dies during a trial, so it’s important to screen the test animals before the trial to eliminate any pigs showing signs of sickness so not to alter the results. All the pigs in the trial should share similar background. For example, they should have eaten the same type of feed, received the same vaccines and housed in the same type of barn. If pigs with dissimilar backgrounds must be used, be sure to balance these pigs on each side of the trial.
Test Feeds Concurrently. Pigs fed the control and test feeds must begin the trial on the same day. If this doesn’t happen, then there is one more variable in the trial which could negatively impact the trial results.
Determine Trial Duration. The feed trial should be long enough to reasonably collect enough data but not so long as to give other factors a chance to influence the results.
Tabulate Results and Draw Conclusions. Calculate pen averages for each of the variables in the trial, such as daily gain, feed intake, feed conversion and feed cost per kg gain. Table 3 shows results that most conclude that the test feed was better. This is not necessarily true. Let me explain why. Back in Point 2, Chance Variation was explained. With results that are this close there is a significant chance that unforeseen differences could have altered the results this amount. Results this close could have been skewed by a mixture of other factors other then feed; such as health, weighing inaccuracy and genetics. The best next step would be to repeat the trial and average the results for a more conclusive outcome.
On-farm trials involve a lot of time, effort and dedication but designed properly they help you make sound business decisions. As an added incentive, certain types of scientific research that you do to improve your business may qualify for the Canada Revenue Agency’s Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive (www.cra-arc.gc.ca/sred/) making on-farm trials well worth the investment.
Thanks to the University of Nebraska and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food as resources. To read complete paper from University of Nebraska CLICK HERE OMAF paper HERE
November 1, 2017
Modern agriculture has come to rely on augers of all types for many many jobs. We use them without even thinking about it. If you do a quick mental count on how many augers you have on your farm, and you’ll be surprised how quickly the number grows. Any idea when a metal auger were first used to move grain? Keep reading for the answer.
Here at Dwyer Manufacturing, we build custom stainless and mild steel auger systems as the job dictates.
If the product needs to go around a corner, we can supply and install a flex auger.
An ALL stainless bin unloader is build right here at Dwyer Manufacturing that is designed to keep moisture out and last a long time.
This unloader is priced right, just a little more then the galvanized version. Starts at $253 as shown in the picture
The stainless bin unloader is adaptable to 200 – 500 flex systems and 4″ & 6″ rigid augers. Rubber
seal and sealed flat washers are standard on all units to keep moisture out.
Call us with your needs and we’ll design a solution.
or CLICK HERE to visit our website for more information