Podcast: Understanding colostrum needs

16-02-2022 | |
Podcast: Understanding colostrum needs

In this 48th episode of the Real P3 podcast, Dr Casey Bradley speaks to co-founder of the Real P3, Willem Steyn in South Africa, to discuss colostrum for piglets and pre-weaning mortality.

The Real P3 podcast series is an initiative where pork professionals from around the globe share their thoughts, insights, and solutions to their day-to-day challenges in the pig farming and production industry.

A challenge to keep them alive

The number of total born and born alive piglets is “absolutely incredible,” said Willem, noting that the national average in Denmark is above 18 piglets. “It is wonderful […] but it is a challenge to keep them all alive.”

The average 2021 nursery mortality in the US is just over 4% and the average finishing mortality is over 5%, Steyn noted, highlighting that from total born to actual slaughter, producers are currently reporting an average loss of 20% of the pigs. “We’re doing something wrong,” he said.

Critical colostrum for piglets

Steyn asks what we are doing in the industry around colostrum and highlights how critical colostrum is for survival and getting all the piglets off to a good start. The conversation also moves to the development of a gilt ahead of her first litter and a lifetime of being able to produce colostrum. Steyn also highlights the importance of a piglet’s temperature and its link to colostrum and survivability. “If you go below 35 degrees you’re going to be in trouble,” he said.

During the conversation, Steyn and Bradley also talk about the sow’s satiety, the delicate balance between demand and supply for colostrum and milk, the feeding needs of the sow.


Natalie Kinsley Freelance journalist
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