Ambassador: France

Publication date: May 2020 | Theme: Animal welfare

Challenges: Strategies for dealing with piglets from hyper prolific sows

Target average weight: For each category of sow prolificacy and parity, an average piglet weight to target is calculated in order to guarantee the maximum survival of piglets. This Target average weight comes from a huge database of farmers who have weighed all the piglets at birth for several years.  The farmer records the litter’s piglets average birth weight of each sows & calculates the ratio between this value and the Target weight. This ratio is called Kalinat index. A kalinat index over 1 is an indicator of a good quality birth piglet. The farmer had some sows (24%) with a bad Kalinat index, so after weaning he gathered these sows, and for them, he increased the quantity of feed during gestating period and until birth. Weighing of litters at birth is integrated into the usual care practices and does not take more time except the notation of the weight on the sow card. He also identifies by colour pencil the smallest piglets to reinforce their monitoring during lactation period.

The implementation of the KALINAT approach led to 180g increase in the average birth weight of piglets from sows with a low Kalinat index, thereby reducing the rate of losses under the mother: reduction of the rate of losses on liveborns by 2.6% in absolute value, ie + 0.41 weaned / litter (2018 reference versus 2019 reference). The proportion of sows with a low Kalinat index decreased from 24% to 19%. A stability of the average birth weight was also observed even if the prolificacy increased sharply (passage from 15.1 total births to 16.48 total births from 2017 to 2019) which should have led to a decrease in average weight. The economic impact of the improvement (reduction in liveborn losses) represents an increase of 1 pig produced / sow / year, i.e. a positive change in gross margin of € 24,000 at the farm level (360 sows present). The economical gains linked to the lesser presence of small piglets in the weaning phase have not been evaluated but are also significant.

Further information will be available on this page in the near future.  In the meantime, to access more details, contact RPIG (France): Fabien Verliat