Gilt preparation is the foundation of securing the future of the valuable sow herd as well as its progeny, leading to more sustainable swine production. The modern gilt has been selected for high performance, she is leaner and grows faster than her predecessors but unless managed correctly from the beginning, risks exiting the herd prematurely. Preparing the gilt to optimize longevity requires a holistic and adaptive management & nutrition approach. Strong and well-developed bones and joints, a robust and competent immune system and healthy and mature reproductive organs are critical to a gilt's success. Adaptive nutrition approaches focusing on optimum mineral and vitamin nutrition and protection against the risk of mycotoxins are some of the strategies to embrace to correctly prepare and protect these valuable young animals.
Adaptive nutritional approaches need an emphasis on three key focus areas to prepare and protect gilts for optimum lifetime performance.
Lameness issues can affect up to 25% of the first parity sows and explain 15% of the culling reasons (Wang et al., 2019. Animals). An issue even more critical when considering the cost of a replacement gilt (about 350 to 400 euros) and the fact that the return on this investment is achieved between the third or fourth parity. Therefore, ensuring optimum and healthy skeleton development during the growing period and the first gestation/lactation is critical to optimize the lifetime performance of sows.
One of the major causes for culling sows is reproductive failure, which accounts for 25 to 47% of the reasons. Among the challenges impacting reproductive health and failure, mycotoxins can have direct effects on the development & functionality of the uterus and ovaries impacting oocyte development and disruption of pregnancy hormones. Vitamin D levels in the blood have been shown to correlate with positive reproduction effects such as litter size, farrowing duration, transfer via milk, and intra-uterine development of piglet. Therefore, is crucial to optimize macro and micro nutrition for optimum growth and body tissue storage, for optimum mammary gland and reproductive organs development.
The immune competency development starts in utero, continues during the growing phase as an example with the vaccination programs, and is the foundation for a healthy start and long lifetime performance for sows. Micronutrients including some vitamins such as D3 are known to have a central role in immune modulation. Another important aspect of robust immune competency is the protection against mycotoxins, which are known to be a predisposition factor for diseases and a reason for the failure of vaccination programs.
Our local pig experts will work closely with you to assess your mineral and vitamin nutrition and protection against the risk of mycotoxins, both in raw materials and the complete gilt feed. We offer different analysis methods that reveal not only the most common mycotoxins but also hidden and emerging mycotoxins. We also can support you in accessing the optimum vitamin nutrition with precision feed and 25-OH-D3 analysis in blood together with interpretation of the results.
Contact us to learn more about how we can support you or reach out to your local dsm-firmenich representative.
Watch the on-demand webinar in which you will hear from three speakers discussing strategies to optimize the preparation and protection of gilts for maximize longevity.