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Hog Farmers Can Reach 30 Pigs Per Sow Per Year

World Pork Expo panelists, including hog farmers and animal nutrition experts, discuss sow productivity at Feeding for 30 Forum.

Tyler Harris

June 27, 2013

4 Min Read

About one year after the Feeding For 30 initiative was unveiled at the 2012 World Pork Expo, animal nutrition experts say the industry is well on its way to reaching the goal of 30 pigs per sow per year, or psy. The initiative is a partnership between Purina Animal Nutrition, Zinpro Corporation and DSM Nutritional Products, providing hog farmers a wealth of expertise to help reach this goal. "The goal is very obtainable," notes Elena Lindemann, lactating livestock marketing manager for Purina. "There are some producers that have already been able to reach and maintain 30 pigs per sow per year."

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The Feeding for 30 program provides a one-stop-shop resource library of objective, research-proven advice for producers. Although there are recommendations for products, it isn't commercially driven, and there are many management-based recommendations in addition to nutrition. "Vitamins, minerals, overall nutrition quality and feeding practices are equally important," Lindemann says. "But it's easier to engage folks starting with management advice."

Some European countries have reached an average of 32 pigs per sow per year, while the U.S. is has a high standard of about 27 psy. Although the productivity of an average U.S. sow has increased by 2.5 psy in the last few years, according to a 2010 PIC Boot Camp presentation, there hasn't been much of a change in how people feed sows, Lindemann says. "You are now operating a more advanced vehicle, but you're putting the same fuel in it," she says. "The genetic progress has been tremendous, but has the nutritional progress caught up?"

Panel of experts

At the 25th annual World Pork Expo at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, pig farmers and industry representatives discussed the possibility of reaching the goal at the second annual Feeding for 30 Forum. This included discussions on management strategies, ongoing research and sow nutrition. "The Feeding for 30 Forum provided an opportunity for producers from across the globe to learn from leaders in the swine industry," Lindemann says. "Swine producers continue to move forward in productivity because they are sharing their experiences and learning innovative management strategies."~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

The Feeding for 30 Forum panelists included:

*Dan McManus, DVM, young animal specialist-swine for Purina Animal Nutrition

*Jon Bergstrom, Ph.D., market development manager-swine for DSM Nutritional Products 

*Derald Holtkamp, DVM, associate professor of veterinarian diagnostic and production animal medicine for Iowa State University, College of Veterinary Medicine

*Steve Huegerich, national director of swine operations for GSC Agribusiness in Coon Rapids, Iowa

*Dave Hansen, owner and operator of Hansen Haven and Hansen Hog West in Coleridge, Nebraska

*Steve Stitzlein, production supervisor at Heimerl Farms in Johnstown, Ohio

The three producer panelists highlighted areas that have helped them move closer to 30 psy. This includes full-feeding sows through lactation, increased attention to birth weights and colostrum, and piglet care immediately after farrowing. The producer panelists have current psy rates between 26 and 30.4 and together manage close to 30,000 sows.

Dave Hansen has reached 27 psy with practices like benchmarking birth weights and improving colostrum and colostrum intake. "We're not to 30, but we've got a couple really good crews," he notes. "1. We're feeding Healthy EDGE Technology. 2. We've been really aggressive at attending more farrowings." Feeding Purina's Healthy EDGE Technology improves colostrum quality, while attending the births makes sure piglets are consuming colostrum. "We try to be there 18 hours a day," Hansen says.

"The panel discussion and the success of these panelists in the field show that 30 psy is a goal that we can achieve," McManus says. "When you're trying to hit that goal, it's a package deal. You need good genetics and you need good nutrition. Beyond those pieces, the farms that are the most successful also have a very good, motivated team of people through all stages of production."

Swine producers, veterinarians and nutritionists can learn more about the Feeding for 30 program and access nutritional resources at the Feeding for 30 website or Facebook page. To sign-up for monthly e-management tips, visit this link.

About the Author(s)

Tyler Harris

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Tyler Harris is the editor for Wallaces Farmer. He started at Farm Progress as a field editor, covering Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. Before joining Farm Progress, Tyler got his feet wet covering agriculture and rural issues while attending the University of Iowa, taking any chance he could to get outside the city limits and get on to the farm. This included working for Kalona News, south of Iowa City in the town of Kalona, followed by an internship at Wallaces Farmer in Des Moines after graduation.

Coming from a farm family in southwest Iowa, Tyler is largely interested in how issues impact people at the producer level. True to the reason he started reporting, he loves getting out of town and meeting with producers on the farm, which also gives him a firsthand look at how agriculture and urban interact.

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