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Small changes and large economic gains in pig reproduction with new breeding technology from Intervet

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According to Intervet-Schering Plough Animal Health, small changes in reproductive performance in piggeries through the application of breeding technologies can translate into large economic gains.

Global Marketing Director of the Global Swine Business Unit at Intervet-Schering Plough Animal Health, is an internationally recognised specialist in the use of breeding technologies on pig farms. Mr Swarts recently addressed about 200 pork producers and industry stakeholders in all mainland Australian on manipulating pig reproduction and reproductive management in pigs.

“For example, if a producer manages to improve sow output from 21 to 22 piglets a year, profits may double, despite a change in piglets numbers of only about five per cent,” said Swarts.

His presentations covered batch farrowing, manipulating heat cycles, fixed time insemination and the importance of production parameters on financial impact.

Mr Swarts told pork producers that a good start to improving sow productivity and therefore piggery profitability was to induce heat on schedule by using specific hormonal treatments to initiate cycling.

“Synchronising heats gives you the best use of housing and easier batch farrowing of piglets by age, allowing you to move them all to the one place at the one time,” he said.

Synchronising heat in cycling gilts and sows, by using the Intervet-SP oral progesterone-like breeding technology product to inhibit the hormones that promote development of egg folicles within the ovaries, was simply a matter of feeding the medication for 18 consecutive days and then stopping. This removed the inhibitory effects of progesterone, allowing normal oestrus cycling to return.

“Ovulation induction then allows you to better manage artificial insemination, including using less semen and you can generally manage your staff and piggery breeding unit more efficiently and more profitably,” Mr Swarts said.

Another advantage of ovulation induction, using Intervet-SP breeding technology, was that oestrus detection was no longer necessary, but simply needed to be confirmed.

“The oral progestagen treatment is a very flexible tool for planning the onset of follicular development and can especially improve productivity in gilts,” said Swarts.

Several studies in a number of countries also showed an increase of about 0.7 piglets born alive per litter, when the treatment was used.

“While this particularly applied to parity one and early weaned sows, it was also observed in gilts,” Mr Swarts said.

He explained that feeding the progestagen for nine days after weaning allowed parity one sows more time for endocrine and uterine recovery and a greater parity two litter size.

“A real difference can be made to producers’ bottom lines by introducing world-leading breeding technologies to improve pig reproduction and that’s where Intervet-SP can help, by giving producers face-to-face access with Hilduard Swarts, a recognised leader in the field,” said New South Wales based Amanda Vardenega, National Swine Manager with Intervet Australia .

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