Each life phase of a pig is linked to the next

08-03-2016 | | |
Nutritional and management solutions pre-weaning and through the weaning transition can help position pigs for long-term success through all phases. [Photo: Purina Animal Nutrition]
Nutritional and management solutions pre-weaning and through the weaning transition can help position pigs for long-term success through all phases. [Photo: Purina Animal Nutrition]

Pig performance in one life phase is correlated to the next. If pigs perform well early in life, they have the right conditions to do so in the next phase as well, thus enhancing uniformity in the finisher pig house.

About 85% of recently polled producers saw early feed consumption as a challenge at their facility. The importance of a strong start is well-known. What might not be as widely recognised is the significance of each production phase on the next – and, ultimately, on the finishing floor.

Set-backs in one phase affect future performance

If a pig experiences a disruption from phase to phase, it can take several days to compensate for the delay. In contrast, pigs that transition seamlessly from phase to phase are better able to grow vigorously.

Research conducted over an 18-month period at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center in Gray Summit, MO, United States, confirms this concept, showing performance in each phase is correlated to the performance of the previous phase. In the trial on more than 1,770 pigs, pigs that started strong, performed better than their counterparts in the nursery, in the grower phase and, ultimately, at finishing.

Benefits started at weaning. Pigs with heavier weaning weights continued to transition better and perform well from wean-to-finish. In fact, each additional pound (0.45 kg) at weaning resulted in a nearly 4 lb (1.8 kg) improvement at finishing.

Broken down, the research showed:

  • Weaning weight impacts day 32 performance: The first improvement in weight gain was seen in day 32 postweaning weights. Each additional pound at weaning resulted in an increase of 1.8 lb (0.81 kg) at day 32 postweaning.
  • Day 32 weight impacts finishing performance: Each additional pound at day 32 postweaning resulted in 2.1 lb extra (0.95 kg) on finishing weights at day 110. End of nursery weights is a strong predictor of finishing weights.
  • The full picture: When tallied together, the research shows that for every pound increase in weaning weight there was an increase of 3.9 lb (1.8 kg) in finishing weights, saving producers on input costs and days in the facility.

Uniform groups more apt to stay uniform

Along with growth rates, uniform groups begin at weaning and continue through each phase. When fed properly, a uniform group at weaning has greater potential to grow consistently and deliver a more uniform, marketable group at the finisher.

A similar study at the Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchawan, confirms the importance of a strong start. The researchers indicated that 73% of the variation in the weight of pigs leaving the nursery was explained by the variation in weaning weight. This study showed similar results to the research conducted at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, with an increase of 1 lb of weaning weight translating into an extra 2 lb (0.91 kg) at the end of the nursery period and 4 lb extra (1.8 kg) at market.

Precise nutrition from day 1 is vital

To help pigs reach heavier market weights or reach the finishing floor sooner, provide precise nutrition through each production phase. Because each phase impacts the next, the nutrition provided from day 1 directly impacts long-term performance.

Nutritional solutions that build on one another are provided through the Purina Progress to Profit Program. 
This programme includes more than 16 proven wean-to-finish solutions, formulated and research-proven for each phase of production from wean to finish. By selecting the products that work best through each production phase, producers are able to give pigs a strong start, in turn promoting successful transitions and strong finishes.

Read more at www.ProgressToProfit.com

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De Rodas Phd Director Of Swine Research At The Purina