Passion for Pigs 2020: Focus on reducing stillborns

15-01-2021 | | |
A pig event in times of Covid-19: Applying social distancing as much as possible. - Photo: Passion for Pigs
A pig event in times of Covid-19: Applying social distancing as much as possible. - Photo: Passion for Pigs

How to reduce the number of stillborn piglets? That was a key question at one of the few live events that did go on late last year in the United States.

The theme was discussed by Ron Ketchem of Swine Management Services, at the Passion for Pigs event, held mid-December 2020 in Sedalia, MO, United States. Instead of showing pigs in the large indoor arena, swine producers and the allied industry met together while practicing social distancing. The event was a great example of how safety and socialising can be combined to bring the industry back together.

Gilt selection and investing in proper gilts

Ketchem was an invited speaker and his presentation’s them was “How to reduce the number of pigs in the dead bucket?” The presentation started out with a discussion around gilt selection and how the industry really needs to invest in the proper gilts and set her up for success as a mother.

Other information shared was around taking Dr Peter Kappel Theil’s and other research and giving us real world examples of implementation of these pivotal research trials. While working with pork producers around the Midwest of the United States he was able to replicate Dr Theil’s work on feeding time interval before parturition.

The search for ideal sow feed continues

If a producer was not convinced by the original publication the data coming from a commercial sow farm with over a year of data indicates that feeding the sow within 3 hours of parturition does reduce the number of stillborns and farrowing interval. His presentation was full of examples of taking small scale research trials and scaling them up in larger systems and finding success. But ultimately, his presentation was full of practical examples of going back to the basics of management and training and refocusing our lens on key segments to improve piglet survivability.

4 Key areas for success in the sow herd

Following in line with Ron Ketchem’s presentation was Jeff Kayer with Fast Genetics presenting on “Optimizing your Sow Herd’s Total Born Levels.” Kayer discussed 4 main buckets for success:

  • Herd health;
  • Gilt development;
  • Breeding programme; and
  • Nutrition programme.

It was interesting the same points that Ketchem made on gilt development was echoed in Kayer’s presentation as well.

Additionally, Dr Jason Schneider with DNA Genetics focused on wean pig management and Dr Aaron Gaines with Anti-tek discussed the “Journey to No Antibiotics – Ever Pork Production”. The veterinarians from Passion For Pigs also gave their traditional “Doc Talks” to round out the programme.

Production advice and life advice

Other presentations brought a valuable combination of production advice and life advice. Corey W.H. Tyson with Nationwide reminded to have a succession plan and strategy for the future of our operations while Dan Meers inspired to live a better life serving others and to focus on the good things in life.

There were updates from Don Nikodim from the Missouri Pork Association, and Brett Stuart from Global AgriTrends on the current and future pork market trends.

Casey Bradley Swine nutrition