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Heat stress and smart farming in Pig Progress 5

The 5th edition of Pig Progress for 2021 is now available online. This edition highlights smart farming ideas for the swine industry and looks at the challenge of heat stress in pigs, which is best tackled with a range of solutions revolving around animal and environmental management and supplemented by a nutritional strategy.

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Heat hampers pig production in East Africa

Rising temperatures and higher humidity will occur more frequently and for longer periods in East Africa. The resulting heat stress experienced by the pig population could make much of East Africa unsuitable for pig production, as reported by correspondent Natalie Berkhout on pages 6-7.

The frequency of “severe/danger” heat events for swine increased significantly from 1981 to 2010. Pigs were exposed to severe/danger heat stress for >50% of the year in roughly 44% of East Africa. - Photo: Kabir Dhanji | ILRI
The frequency of “severe/danger” heat events for swine increased significantly from 1981 to 2010. Pigs were exposed to severe/danger heat stress for >50% of the year in roughly 44% of East Africa. - Photo: Kabir Dhanji | ILRI

How betaine affects the gut of weaning piglets

This article, authored by Orffa’s Lien Vande Maele on pages 12-14 focuses on the role of betaine, a naturally occurring compound, as a feed additive to support gut health in weaning piglets.

Betaine helps cells all over the body of a pig to maintain water balance and cellular activity. - Photo: Shutterstock
Betaine helps cells all over the body of a pig to maintain water balance and cellular activity. - Photo: Shutterstock

Amino acids to overcome heat stress problems

Nutritional strategies can help to mitigate the negative effects of heat stress in pigs. Researchers recently conducted 2 experiments to determine the effect of amino acids on nutrient utilisation and growth of heat-stressed pigs. See the details and the results in an article by John Htoo of Evonik on pages 12-13.

Supplemental amino acids improve gain:feed efficiency of growing pigs under heat stress conditions. - Photo: Jan Willem Schouten
Supplemental amino acids improve gain:feed efficiency of growing pigs under heat stress conditions. - Photo: Jan Willem Schouten

Heat stress is not only an environmental issue

The complex challenge of heat stress is best tackled with a range of solutions revolving around animal and environmental management and supplemented by a nutritional strategy. Francesc Payola and Morgane Piriou of Wisium explain on pages 14-15.

Gestating sows in hot conditions, on a farm near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. - Photo: Vincent ter Beek
Gestating sows in hot conditions, on a farm near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. - Photo: Vincent ter Beek

Column: Market uncertainty and risk

In this column on page 16, Dr Casey Bradley discusses grain and feed input prices and availability as well as feed additives for the pig farmer. Nutritional strategies, she says, need to change and adapt to market conditions.

Robust weaned pigs start with optimal haemoglobin

Ensuring pigs have an optimal haemoglobin level at weaning is one of the best ways to raise a healthy, resilient pig. Read more in a contribution by Chris Olsen of Pharmacosmos on page 17.

Newborn piglets sometimes outgrow a single dose of iron. - Photo: Pharmacosmos
Newborn piglets sometimes outgrow a single dose of iron. - Photo: Pharmacosmos

Bringing circular pig production a step closer

On a visit to a pig cooperative, Zonvarken (“Sun Pig”), in the east of the Netherlands, circular pig production is one step closer. Animal welfare, climate and job satisfaction are the spearheads of this new concept, as detailed in an article by reporter Anne-Marie van der Linde on pages 18-20.

These barns on the site of a former poultry farm have a remarkable architectural style and are constructed largely out of wood. - Photo: Henk Riswick
These barns on the site of a former poultry farm have a remarkable architectural style and are constructed largely out of wood. - Photo: Henk Riswick

The return of WPX: Optimism abounds

Although the World Pork Expo (WPX) was cancelled in 2019 due to ASF, and then again in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 show attracted thousands of participants. On behalf of Pig Progress, correspondent Darcy Maulsby took a look. Read the review on pages 22-24.

The 2021 World Pork Expo took place from 9-11 June at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. - Photo: Darcy Maulsby
The 2021 World Pork Expo took place from 9-11 June at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. - Photo: Darcy Maulsby

Italy gains international interest with ClassyFarm

Attracting international attention is a new integrated IT system known as ClassyFarm, which has been developed by the Italian ministry of health for risk analysis of livestock farms. Marcello Marchesi has the details on page 27.

The ClassyFarm dashboard. Illustration: - ClassyFarm
The ClassyFarm dashboard. Illustration: - ClassyFarm

Sow feeding affects piglet performance

Research in Northern Ireland has investigated the growth response of low and average birth weight piglets when reared on sows offered different levels of lactation feed intake. The article by correspondent Chris McCullough on pages 28-29 presents the results.

Low birth weight piglets have the potential to perform just as well as their heavier siblings. - Photo: Ronald Hissink
Low birth weight piglets have the potential to perform just as well as their heavier siblings. - Photo: Ronald Hissink

Smart farming ideas for the swine industry

Smart farming emerged from the need to inform farmers frequently and in detail about the health, welfare and productivity of their animals. This article on pages 30-31, authored by a team of scientific authors including Dr Samaneh Azarpajouh, looks at what is currently available and what can be expected.

A range of smart farming technologies are available that could be used in the swine industry, including radio frequency identification technology that tracks individual feed intake and weight. - Photo: Van Assendelft Fotografie
A range of smart farming technologies are available that could be used in the swine industry, including radio frequency identification technology that tracks individual feed intake and weight. - Photo: Van Assendelft Fotografie

Column: Free farrowing pens

Columnist Dr Irene Camerlink discusses free farrowing crates and raises some interesting points on page 34. She notes that, according to research, higher growth rates in such systems are achieved.

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