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Research Call

DAFM Reference


DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2013 13S428 Teagasc (AFBI) €507,024

Project Title:

Optimising annual output per sow by increasing the number of viable piglets born alive and minimising pre-weaning piglet mortality

Project Coordinator:

Dr Peadar Lawlor

Project Abstract

Sow output in Ireland is below that in more efficient pig producing countries. If an Irish 500 sow unit could increase output to that achieved in The Netherlands (26.5 pigs/sow/year), net profit p.a. would increase by €35,650. This would further stimulate growth of the national herd. Welfare and ethical concerns mean that genetic selection for hyper-prolificacy has received negative publicity in Denmark where large litters of light, marginally viable pigs are associated with increased mortality. Hence, increases in sow output in Ireland should be achieved in a more sustainable manner. The objective of this project is to increase sow output by: 1. Improving sow nutrition (feed allowance, L-carnitine, L-arginine, fish oil, vitamin D supplementation, fermentable substrates) to maximise the sows’ genetic potential for large litters while also increasing viability of the additional pigs born; 2. Improving colostrum quality to reduce piglet mortality; 3. Implementing pre-weaning interventions (nurse sows, rescue decks and energy supplementation) to keep weak piglets alive. Archived databases from sow nutrition studies will be mined and animal experiments conducted. Best practice guidelines for optimisation of sow output will be prepared and results will be disseminated effectively to enable prompt adoption by stakeholders with the aim of realising Harvest 2020 targets.

Final Report:

Not available yet.