ACMC advises cash-in on cull sows
Due to the disruption caused by foot-and-mouth
and very poor cull sow prices, lots of pig farmers have held onto older sows for
too long. As a result the parity structure in many breeding herds is now
seriously out of balance.
â€œIdeally, most sows should be replaced after their
sixth litter, but we are seeing dams which are into their eighth or even ninth
parities,â€ said Malcolm Stead, production director of ACMC.
â€œKeeping sows for this length of time
results in much-reduced performance, due to lower numbers born and fewer piglets
reared. It is also likely to upset herd immunity, with greater
susceptibility to problems such as PRRS and PMWS.â€
With cull sow prices
the highest they've been for years â€” large animals have been fetching up to Â£200
â€” now is an excellent time for producers to bring in new gilts, since they can
â€œtrade-inâ€ new for old at almost no cost.
Acting now can also help avoid the dip in
productivity caused by autumn infertility, explains Malcolm. Gilts
purchased in June won't be served until August, when reducing day length causes
a fall-off in conception rates.
So mating extra animals can help ensure enough pigs are
coming forward for finishing. A shortage of slaughter pigs is predicted and by
keeping numbers up producers should be able to cash in on high
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