Helping your grow-finish pigs grow
Average daily gain (ADG) is clearly one of the key profit drivers in the grow-finish production phase. When paying rent for space, it becomes obvious that the faster we can help them to grow, the quicker they get to market and then we can put another animal in their spot.
The following are a few ideas that could help to ensure that we’re maximizing average daily gain:
Genetics: We’re paying for genetics to maximize growth. Therefore, we should give them every opportunity to reach their full potential.
Pen Size: There have been a number of studies showing that pen size is related to average daily gain. The smaller the pen size, the better the ADG. It’s possible that you may be able to improve your ADG by dividing your larger pens into smaller pen sizes.
Feed Outages: This point is quite obvious but there’s research that for every feed outage, we lose ½ pound per pig. Therefore, the key to growth is to have feed in front of the pigs at all times.
Feeders: When considering ADG, making sure the pigs get enough feed is important. Proper feeder adjustment should be made a priority and monitored when doing routine daily chores. Feeder adjustments will vary according to pig age as well as the type of diet being fed (mash/pellet, wet/dry). Feeders should likewise be checked daily to ensure they are not plugged. Also, feeder pans should have only good quality feed. Pigs won’t eat even the most palatable ration if its old, moldy or has been soiled with feces or urine.
Feeder Space: In our business, we are always looking for the most cost-effective solutions. Feeder space can be expensive therefore we want enough with nothing wasted. The National Swine Nutrition Guide recommends two inches of feeder space per pig when feeding a mash diet.
There are other things that factor into the feeder space equation. The type of feed being offered also makes a difference. Pigs will generally consume wet feed faster than dry which will free up feeder space. They will also eat pelleted feed faster than mash. Another point to consider is it is in a pig’s nature to want other pigs next to them while eating, just like when the sow calls the pigs to nurse. Therefore, there needs to be room for the hungry pig as well as his buddies.
Keep Them Cool: We know that keeping pigs cool in the summertime can help them gain. Misters will help cool pigs in the heat and resulting in improved ADG. With the summer heat behind us, the cooler fall temperatures will be on our side. Making sure we have the right temperature and ventilation for them will keep their intake up and maximize ADG.
Sorting by Size: There has been some research done that by NOT sorting by size, you can improve average daily gain. If you put all the big pigs together and all the small pigs together when loading pens, its been shown that average daily gain will drop. Pigs want to find natural variation within the pen. Only sort off the extremely small pigs to give them better opportunities so they don’t lose ground to the group average.
Continually Strive to Improve Nutrition: Work with your nutritionist to ensure that the energy and lysine in the diet is up to the correct levels. It’s been noticed as genetics have improved, we may not have kept up with lysine requirements of these fast growing pigs. These levels will need to be evaluated continuously in order to maximize ADG. Research barn trials can help you evaluate different diets to discover what will work best.
Pig Space: ADG can also be linked to pig space. You may have to be careful when considering pig space because there comes a point of diminishing returns. It’s more expensive to provide extra pig space and it may not always pay back with improved average daily gain.
Health: One of the biggest drivers of average daily gain is health. Continuing to strive to eliminate diseases on the sow farms, as well as correctly vaccinating your pigs, greatly improves ADG. Work with your Swine Vet Center veterinarian to see what diseases can be easily controlled and/or eliminated.
Fall checklist for hog buildings
|Item||Ideal date to complete||Completed||Initials|
|Check manure pit levels weekly||9/1|
|(>1′ clearance at pump for proper ventilation)||9/15|
|Recondition pit fans||9/15|
|Curtains should be even||9/15|
|No sags in curtains||9/15|
|Repair holes in curtains||9/15|
|Blow out heaters||9/15|
|Heaters need to be ready to run and should be tested||9/15|
|Check LP level|
|Completely clean out feed bins||9/15|
|Clean soffit screens||9/15|
|Clean pit fans and louvers||9/30|
|Repair and clean inlets||9/30|
|Reset alarm Hi/Lo settings||9/30|
|Check approach around chute and front door to make sure of proper height for winter||9/30|
|Set ventilation controller for winter settings||10/1|
|Bubble wrap ready for curtains if wean to finish||10/15|
|Have covers ready for fans||10/15|
|Pick up around the building||10/15|
|Refill bait stations||10/15|
|Snow fence if needed||10/30|
|Plan for snow removal||10/30|
|Flags for LP tank, well, pit fans, etc||10/30|
|Pit covers should be tight||11/15|
|Curtains sealed tight, check and lubricate curtain machine||11/15|
|Plastic for sealing fans||11/15|
To download a printable version of this chart, click here.
Swine Vet Center Veterinarians in the Spotlight
Due to COVID 19, the 2020 Allen D. Leman Swine Conference, a global swine industry educational event, was held virtually this year.
Dr. Paul Yeske gave two presentations at this year’s conference. “The swine producer’s and veterinarian’s response to COVID-19” and “Taking advantage of COVID-derived interventions to improve health”. Dr. Paul also presented a poster entitled “Evaluation of Shedding and Effect on Pig Performance of Prevacent™ PRRS Vaccine”.
Dr. Alyssa Betlach presented a poster entitled “Effect of tulathromycin treatment on Mycoplasma hyopneumonia detection and infectious potential”.
Dr. Betlach also published an article in Veterinary Microbiology entitled “Natural transmission and detection of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae in a naïve gilt population”. The article abstract can be seen here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32891949/
SVC Office Hours: Monday through Friday 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM
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