[ASC-media] Pork CRC Sow Transition Research Satisfying Hunger For Change

brendon at iinet.net.au brendon at iinet.net.au
Wed Oct 23 17:18:15 PDT 2013


Pork CRC Media Release - October 24, 2013

 

Pork CRC Sow Transition Research Satisfying Hunger For Change

 

Robert van Barneveld, supported by the CRC for High Integrity Australian
Pork (Pork CRC), addressed the opening session of the 22nd biennial Recent
Advances in Animal Nutrition Australia conference at the University of New
England, New South Wales, on Wednesday, October 23.

 

Professor van Barneveld, who has many roles within the Australian pork
industry as a nutritionist and scientist, discussed the key management
challenges experienced when pork producers transition from stall-housing
systems to group-housing gestating sows.

 

His address is published as a full paper in CSIRO's prestigious 'Animal
Production Science' journal, a special edition of which was prepared as
conference proceedings.

 

Acknowledging that the transition from stalls to groups can be daunting,
Professor van Barneveld believes that most Australian producers are managing
the process well.

 

"Backed by quality research from the Pork CRC, a high level of innovation
and typically advanced husbandry skills, Australian producers have already
begun to enjoy productivity equivalent or superior to that achieved in
stall-based systems," he said.

 

However, from a management perspective, conversion from stalls to group
housing for gestating sows presented several challenges, including:

 

(1) Ensuring all sows receive daily allocations of nutrients.

(2) Minimising variation in sow body condition.

(3) Minimising aggression and negative interactions between sows.

(4) Accommodating more activity and movement concurrent with reduced
stereotypical behaviours and a greater capacity for sows to regulate their
thermal comfort.

(5) Developing reproductive, management, and feeding strategies that
compensate for the increased space and capital requirements of group-housed
systems.

(6) Minimising lameness and foot injuries in group-housing systems.

 

Professor van Barneveld said nutritional management was central to many of
these challenges, of which satisfying nutritional requirements was only one
aspect. 

 

"In particular, a focus on minimising gilt weight variation on entry to the
breeding herd, optimising sow feed intake during lactation and managing sow
aggression at mixing by eliminating competition for food is critical," he
said.

 

"Producers require nutritional strategies that ensure the sow's productive
capacity is optimised, without the luxury of stalls to manage the individual
needs of sows.

 

"It's also important to recognise that each group housing system and the
associated staff management and husbandry skills will differ, making it
impossible to advocate a single approach to nutritional management,"
Professor van Barneveld concluded.

 

According to Pork CRC CEO, Roger Campbell, Pork CRC Program One, 'Reduced
confinement of sows and piglets', invests considerable funding into
qualitative and quantitative research to support producers transitioning to
group housing.

 

As part of that commitment, Dr Campbell launched the Pork CRC/APL
publication, 'Feeding Pregnant Sows in Group Housing Systems', at the 2013
Victorian Pig Fair.

 

"The manual incorporates information which effectively turned on its head
what we previously thought," he said.

 

"We now have solid evidence that increasing feed intake of gestating sows in
early pregnancy can increase reproduction and increasing feed availability
immediately after mixing ensures less dominant sows get adequate nutrition.
This is very important with highly competitive group housed sows and has
welfare and performance implications.

 

"Conversely, Pork CRC research showed increasing feed in late gestation,
even for sows with big litters, had little or no effect, so it seems
consistent, early feeding is the trick," Dr Campbell said.

 

The manual can be viewed on the Pork CRC website www.porkcrc.com.au
<http://www.porkcrc.com.au> 

 

 <http://www.porkcrc.com.au> www.porkcrc.com.au

 

Authorised by Pork CRC and issued on its behalf by 

Brendon Cant, Mob 0417 930 536.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dr Roger Campbell
<mailto:roger.campbell at porkcrc.com.au?subject=Media%20Release> , Pork CRC
CEO, Mob 0407 774 714.

 

Pork CRC Nutrition Support.docx/RC270913221013RvB131013

 

 

Brendon Cant

Communications Manager

Tel +61 8 9430 9463

Mob +61 417 930 536

 <http://www.porkcrc.com.au/> 

CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork

 

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