GFM Network News


Second-litter syndrome indicator of sow fertility

The occurrence of “second-litter syndrome” in sows is an important measure of reproductive function in pig herds and a good indicator of likely lifetime performance, says Dr. Nicoline Soede from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Speaking at the recent Banff Pork Seminar, she said that the syndrome is characterized by an increased weaning-to-estrus interval, a

Capitalizing on NIRS technology in a commercial feed mill

In the current high feed-price climate, knowing the nutritional value of an ingredient can make a big difference to the cost of feeding a pig. It also allows more accurate formulation so that the pig’s nutritional requirements can be met more accurately, and performance targets met. In recent years, the use of Near Infrared Reflectance


Good gilt management improves lifetime productivity

Genetic progress in litter size has been rapid over the last 15 years, with an annual improvement in the range of 0.2 – 0.3 total born. For many producers, litter size is no longer a limiting factor to achieving a high number of pigs born per sow per year. Today’s challenges now centre around maximizing

Bone fractures may be linked to dietary mineral levels

The incidence of hog carcass contamination and trimming related to spine fractures is increasing at Olymel’s Red Deer processing plant and possibly at other plants, according to Eduardo Beltranena, monogastrics research scientist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. While the incidence is not widespread, for some farms this problem is up to six times more

First-lactation teat usage affects milk production

Before the advent of highly prolific breeding stock, it was common practice to let first-litter sows suckle a maximum of 10 piglets in order to minimize their weight loss during lactation. With a lower feed intake compared to older sows, gilts are vulnerable to excessive weight loss, leading to an extended wean-to-estrus period and lower


Is pork industry’s business model broken?

There is no doubt that, whichever way you look at it, Western Canada is a good place to raise pigs. The combination of abundant space and locally grown feed ingredients provides key elements that are missing in some important pig-producing countries such as Denmark, where manure disposal is a challenge, and China, where a lot

Variable creep feed intake confounds trial results

The benefits of creep feeding are notoriously variable, with some research trials showing a positive benefit and others showing no advantage. Even taking into account factors such as weaning age, length of the creep-feeding period, and type of diet fed, it is somewhat of a mystery why the outcomes are not more consistent. So what’s

Getting weanlings off to a good start

When we think of nurturing young pigs, it’s always the piglets in the farrowing rooms that take centre stage. Yet, in just the time it takes to move piglets into the nursery, those same piglets find themselves in a strange environment, without their mother and her generous milk bar. Not only is this stressful and


New breeding programs capture more genetic value

Using top 15 per cent of boars in AI program could add nearly $550,000 per year in profits in a 10,000-sow production system

While artificial insemination (AI) in pigs has become almost universal in the worldwide swine industry, it has a number of disadvantages, according to Michael Dyck from the University of Alberta. Changes to the way in which boars are used and AI techniques utilized can capture the increased genetic potential of higher-index boars and add significant

Early life influences on breeding performance

The North American pork industry is increasingly focusing on sow lifetime performance as a key goal for the breeding herd rather than pigs weaned per sow. After all, if high replacement rates and moderate lifetime productivity can be improved, the cost of producing piglets will be reduced. This was the theme of the recent Swine