ACMC advises cash-in on cull sows

20-06-2008 | |

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.

“Ideally, most sows should be replaced after their sixth litter, but we are seeing dams which are into their eighth or even ninth parities,” said Malcolm Stead, production director of ACMC.

Reduced performance
“Keeping 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.”

With cull sow prices the highest they’ve been for years — large animals have been fetching up to £200 — now is an excellent time for producers to bring in new gilts, since they can “trade-in” new for old at almost no cost.

Autumn infertility
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 prices.

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