Page 2 - Pork Newspaper - February 2018
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Farrowing management – fostering know-how
MAKING sure every pig is well looked af- ter in a farrowing house can take a special kind of dedication as well as specialised management.
Why is that?
Because there are dif- ferent groups of pigs that have different require- ments and it’s not only the differences in require- ments that you would ex- pect between adults and their offspring – the ages of piglets in the farrowing area can vary from new- born to four weeks-plus and the needs of piglets change as they grow.
Pre-weaning mortality is the major cause of pro- duction loss in the farrow- ing area and it can vary greatly from farm to farm.
About 80 percent of piglet losses occur in the first 72 hours of a piglet’s life and mortality also increases with increasing litter size.
Good farrowing stock- people look after large and varying populations of pigs while still manag- ing to see and treat each pig as an individual.
Getting the ‘one per- centers’ right and showing careful attention to detail is what is needed to care for all ages of pigs in far- rowing accommodation.
This sets up the health of the herd and safeguards the robustness of replace- ment breeders.
In the farrowing shed, one of the most important tasks is fostering piglets.
The major reason for fostering is to improve a piglet’s chances of getting adequate nourishment and thriving.
You have to work out a system that provides the best results and is the most suitable for your farm.
This system should be developed in consultation with your veterinarian and farm manager.
Fostering works better when carried out earlier during lactation, that is, in the first 24 hours.
Piglet movement after 24 hours results in re- duced suckling success, more frequent vocalisa- tions and receiving more sow aggression than those piglets moved at less than 24 hours of age.
There are several types of fostering methods.
The ones that work most effectively are: fostering to make sure piglets from big litters all have a teat; and back fostering – crea- tion of nurse sows.
Piglet fostering depends on the results of many an- imal husbandry tasks that must be performed well to provide the tools to guar- antee fostering success.
There are a number of key principles important to consider when fostering piglets.
These are:
(load sows with only the number of pigs they can successfully nurse plus one additional pig based upon their past weaning performance and udder condition).
• Just because a pig is small doesn’t mean it’s a runt or even that it won’t thrive when left with larger litter mates – being small is not a reason to move a pig. A small piglet that has attached to a good teat and kept its place by the end of 24-48 hours of age will continue to thrive – missing out on a drink is the only reason to foster a piglet.
• Do not foster piglets for grading, sexing or sav- ing sick pigs, fall-behinds and runts.
• Piglets should not be fostered after 24 hours of age and alternate strategies, such as setting up nurse sows, should be used when piglets need to be moved later in lactation.
• Udder assessment should occur as close to farrowing as possible for the number of functional teats as well as teat acces- sibility.
• Gilts should receive as many piglets as the udder allows but older parities (>P6) should be carefully assessed for rearing abil- ity.
If these principles are followed, piglet survival and growth should be maximised.
Over the past few years, APL has commissioned a number of projects that have really centred on management during the farrowing/lactation peri- od, specifically fostering management.
Though it seems quite simple, effective fostering is really a bit of an art and it’s not simply just moving
piglets around.
The outcomes of these
projects have been com- bined with actual farm standard operating proce- dures to produce a foster- ing manual “Guidelines for Fostering – Getting the ‘One-percenters’ right”.
A pocket book summary listing SOPs as well as a USB with a PowerPoint presentation to assist with training and understand- ing will accompany this manual.
This fostering package will be available shortly from APL.
For more information, please contact either Re- becca Athorn (0436 655 015, rebecca.athorn@ or Ashley Norval (0437 177 527, ashley.norval@aus Leading sustainability
As the new Manager Environment (Research & Innovation) at APL, Denise Woods has hit the deck running... almost literally!
Specialist Group 3 – En- vironment is meeting in February and time is fast running out to ensure a smooth transition.
Information from this meeting of producers and researchers will form the basis of the business plan for the following 12 months.
To this end, Denise been reading everything she can get her hands on re- garding pork production and sustainability and has determined that the Aus- tralian pork industry is in the fortunate position of being able to access some of the best researchers in the country.
These researchers pro- vide the pork industry with the most recent in- formation, advances in technology and scientific data in order to position the industry to best ad- vantage.
There are currently a number of activities that address previously identi- fied information gaps.
These are new and emerging technologies, innovation and uptake of best management practic- es, validation of industry environmental data and on farm greenhouse gas
mitigation strategies.
Our team is hard at
Some of the current
projects in development include: investigating sen- sor technology to improve effluent management de- cisions, developing soil sustainability information materials, extracting ef- fluent nutrients for use as potential commercial grade fertiliser, working on a series of videos to explain piggery planning requirements, updating the national environmen- tal guidelines for pigger- ies and assisting in the update of the Emissions Reduction Fund method- ologies.
Australia is fortunate to have a relatively clean and healthy environment and has an enviable reputa- tion for the health of its product.
With continued pressure from community groups and regulatory agencies, we need to continually work to get the message out that the pork indus- try is one of the cleanest methods of animal pro- tein production in terms of emissions.
APL feels the best way to achieve this is through the development of fac- tual case studies backed by scientific rigour.
The development of best management practices provides the producer with easy to use guides to reduce environmental impacts associated with the operation of piggeries.
The National Environ- mental Guidelines for Piggeries (Third Edition) is in the process of be- ing finalised and all pro- ducers will be advised as soon as it is available.
In closing, I extend my sincere thanks to Mark Hogan, who has retired as Chair of Specialist Group 3 – Environment, for his leadership and contribu- tions during 2017/18 as well as being a member of Specialist Group 3 for many years.
For further informa- tion on any of the topics discussed, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0423 056 045 or heather. channon@australianpork.
by HEATHER CHANNON Acting Research and Innovation General Manager
• Colostrum
lets energy and warmth, as well as immunity. It is best accessed in the first 12 hours after farrowing from the birth sow. There- fore, no piglet fostering should occur before the piglets are 12 hours old.
• Colostrum intake impacts on the lifetime performance of the pig. Management techniques, such as split suckling, can achieve a more even in- take of birth sow colos- trum. These techniques must be used before pigs are moved.
• The piglet’s ability to absorb immunoglobulins in colostrum falls rapidly and gut closure is usually complete by 24-36 hours. The control of this gut closure is directly linked to the non-specific ab- sorption of nutrients such as glucose, lactose as well as artificial and natural colostrum.
• Piglet fostering should occur when the pigs are between 12 and 24 hours of age, but movement should be minimal to re- duce disease spread.
• Foster piglets to equal- ise the number of piglets per litter only within the first 24 hours of age
Pig Industry Calendar of Events
MAR 3 - 6 – Annual Meeting of the American Association of Swine, San Diego, California, US annmtg
MAR 20 - 23 – Anuga FoodTec, Colonia, Germany
MAR 21 - 23 – Pig Focus Asia, Bangkok, Thailand
MAR 21 – World Butchers’ Challenge, Belfast, Ireland events/1038188022980633
MAR 27 - 28 – London Swine Conference, Ontario Canada www.
APR 19 - 21 – Livestock Asia, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia,
MAY 15 - 16 – British Pig & Poultry Fair, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, UK
MAY 30 - 31 – Pan Pacific Pork Expo, Gold Coast, Queensland au
JUN 20 - 22 – VIV Europe 2018, Utrecht, The Netherlands en/Bezoeker.aspx
SEP 17 - 19 – VIV China, Nanjing International Exhibition Centre (NIEC), China aspx
SEP 25 - 27 – PorkExpo 2018 Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil
How to supply event details: Send all details to Australian Pork Newspaper, PO Box 387, Cleveland, Qld 4163, call 07 3286 1833 fax: 07 3821 2637, email:
07 3286 1833
Registrations now open!
Visit to register and for all you need to know.
30 & 31 MAY 2018
Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, Broadbeach QLD
Upcoming editions of APN will have more information.
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Page 2 – Australian Pork Newspaper, February 2018

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