Tips for an optimal rearing of gilts

Chris Opschoor is Manager of the Global Nutrition Services. He and his team provide advice to feed producers, advisors, and our customers about the best feeding quantity and quality to unlock the maximum potential of Topigs Norsvin genetics.

The breeding itinerary of a commercial sow herd consists of 20% gilts. Proper development of a replacement gilt is a long term strategy to ensure herd retention (longevity) and productivity (sow performance) in the breeding herd. Therefore a gilt management program is essential for efficient sow replacement. It enables replacement targets to be met with gilts of adequate body weight and condition for breeding to ensure sow longevity and a sustainable lifetime production. 

Chris’ tips how to do optimal gilt rearing:

  1. Support maximum nutrient intake of the parent sow during lactation as good as possible. Studies show that the management of the gilts mother has a clear effect on her performance. Significant mobilization of her mother’s body weight (>6%) will affect the quality of oocytes and embryos and their survival through gestation. This also has an effect on performance of the gilt when she is in production.
  2. Support adequate colostrum intake of the future gilts because it is important for neonatal development of the piglets immune system, gut and reproductive system. Literature suggests an intake of 250 gram of colostrum is adequate for healthy piglets.
  3. Support life daily gain > 650 grams per day to ensure a sufficient weight at first insemination. This is between 150 and 170 kilo.
  4. Start boar exposure at 150-160 days. This ensures that you have the first mating at the right age. It also reduces nonproductive days.
  5. Ensure > 60 kilo gain during first gestation to ensure sufficient body reserves at farrowing. Combine this with adequate feed intake in lactation. It will prevent significant losses of body weight and improves quality of oocytes.

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