In October 2019, Dortheasminde started feeding EP199 to sows to improve their productivity. A choice that owner, Søren Kjær Poulsen, is very pleased with.
By spending 23,5 EUR per produced sow per year, EP199 has resulted in an extra three weaned piglets per produced sow per year, 0.7 piglets more were weaned per weaning and 700 grams extra weight gain was recorded before weaning.
Dortheasminde pig production is owned by Lone and Søren Kjær Poulsen, who is running their business of breeding and multiplying along with 260 hectares of farming together with 12 employees. The herd includes 850 year sows, of which 160 of them are Landrace sows used for breeding.
Needed more than milk cups and management
In fall 2019, Dortheasminde set a goal to wean more piglets and reduce the mortality in the farrowing section.
Consequently, the employees worked hard to improve management and adjust other parameters to increase productivity in a positive direction.
The overall effort paid off and the mortality rate in the farrowing section decreased.
The owner, Søren Kjær Poulsen, however, believed that the results could be even better:
“We already installed milk cups and even though the employees did a great good job on the management side, somehow something was still missing. In October, when we optimized our feed, we chose to go all-in on EP199 for the sows”.
The choice fell on EP199 because Dortheasminde has been weaning piglets without zinc oxide and antibiotics for several years with the help of the piglet feed EP100i.
“We supply pigs without the use of antibiotics and zinc oxide, and we have been using EP100i from European Protein for the last 5-6 years to ensure high gastrointestinal health for the piglets. When European Protein told us about EP199 and the protein’s effect on the sows, it was a natural step to start up in the sow herd.”
Fast implementation compared to guidelines
EP199 should firstly be inserted in the gestation section to improve the gastrointestinal health of the sow and the development of the embryos. When the sow has been fed EP199during the gestation period, the protein will follow her into the farrowing section to ensure oxygen flow during farrowing, to strengthen the milk production and increase the number of antibodies in the colostrum.
This means that it takes 5-6 months before the pig producer will see the full effect of EP199.
At Dortheasminde, Søren already used a small amount of EP100i for the sows, which meant that he skipped the implementation period and tarted directly in both the gestation and farrowing section at the same time. Something European Protein advises other pig producers not to do, as the sows need to adapt to the feed before increasing the dosage in the farrowing section.
“We used a little bit of EP100i for the sows, so we chose to insert EP199 in the gestation and farrowing stable from day one”,
Søren says and continues:
“European Protein had told us that it would take six months before we could see the actual results, but already after a month or two, we could see a difference. I am not that often in the farrowing section and therefore the difference appears more clearly to me than if I was there every day. The sows are completely transformed.”
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Better milking ability and appetite
Marlene Svensmark, the farm manager, also noticed the improvements shortly after using EP199:
“We experience that the sows eat more throughout the whole period in the farrowing section and they milk better than before. They don’t stop eating as often as before. Their condition is unchanged although the sows wean an extra piglet.”
When it comes to growth, Marlene points out that the piglets are heavier than before:
“The piglets weigh an average of 700 grams more than before, which means that many more piglet kilos are produced per pen.”
In the first half of the year, the number of live-born piglets increased as much as two piglets per year per sow and the reduction in size and weight difference between before and after using EP199 is also worth noticing, the production manager says:
“The piglets are much more uniform in here. We don’t have as many small piglets and we don’t have as many huge ones. The improved milking ability gives a better start for the suckling pigs”.
Marlene continues, that in addition to more uniform piglets, the mortality in the farrowing stable has dropped significantly.
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More milk with less feed
EP199 improves the gut’s ability to absorb and utilize feed. Therefore, feed consumption is typically reduced by 5-10% per produced piglet.
For some herds, it means steady feed consumption, and instead better milking, more weaned piglets and thus a decreasing feed cost per pig.
For other herds, it means that the protein level needs to be lowered and the minerals adjusted.
Marlene Svensmark has noticed significant changes in feed utilization:
“We have had to adjust and lower the feeding curves. It appears that the sows absorb the feed better, which is why we have had to change protein and mineral levels more than once. We’re still adjusting in order to find the right level.”
The genetics of the sow partly determines how the sow and her milk responds to the improved feed intake. Where some breeders need to reduce the protein level, other pig producers have to increase the protein and mineral inclusion because feed consumption decreases.
The price of adding EP199 varies from farm to farm, as it depends on the composition of the current sow feed and what EP199 replaces in the feed.
“EP199 costs us 23,5 EUR more per sow per year compared to our previous feed. In return, we get three piglets more per year per sow. As each sow can wean 0.7 pig more per weaning, we reduce the need for nursing sows by one for every 15th sow. In addition, the piglets weigh 700 grams more at weaning. It’s quite easy to figure out, that it is good business”,
says Søren, who would not hesitate to recommend EP199 for other pig producers:
“Are you troubled by challenges especially in the farrowing section and with health issues, then I honestly think that this can boost your performance in the sow unit.”