A fourth series of Feet First seminars, organised by Zinpro Performance Minerals®, was held recently in the North of Spain. Tim Horne from Chemuniqué International South Africa was invited to attend the final seminar at Casteldefells together with other delegates from Brazil, Mexico, Holland, Ireland and Germany.
Attention was given to sow longevity at a large Mexican breeding farm. Other themes discussed included lameness, heat stress and welfare.
Tom Karkutt, director of production at Carrolls Farms, Mexico, explained the results of a two-year programme to increase longevity of 65 000 sows. Attention to lameness problems on the farm primarily through the feeding of complex organic minerals, and focusing on claw trimming, led to a substantial reduction of lameness related culling. In total, at the end of the production cycle, over three years, benefits are estimated to be US$5.7 million.
Other speakers included Dr Lance Baumgard, associate professor at Iowa State University, United States, who described recent trials related to heat stress in pigs. Significant benefits were revealed relating to the benefits of feeding organic zinc during periods of heat stress.
Two speakers discussed the topical situation of group housing of sows in Europe. Hans Aae, head of nutrition at animal nutrition company Vitfoss, spoke about recent Danish experiences. In his view, sows can be kept in crates until four weeks after mating, followed by a system of Electronic Sow Feeding (ESF), or free access stalls. He also described bedding in lying areas, and slatted floors in dunging areas.
Marrina Schuttert, from the Veterinary Centre Someren, Netherlands, reviewed the group sow housing situation in the Netherlands. She noted that, by now, 77% of Dutch sow breeders have converted (representing 71% of all sows). In total, 34% used free access stalls, 32% ESF with concrete flooring and 15% ESF with straw bedding. Marrina advised breeders to take time for
the conversion to group housing, in order to allow both the breeders and sows to adapt to the new environment.
For more information on Zinpro Performance Minerals® in swine diets please visit the Chemuniqué website:
www.chemunique.co.za. There is also a link via our website to the new-look Zinpro website where you can also read up on more information. There is a dedicated section on Lameness in swine and the Zinpro Feet First program, including short video clips. Look for the Zinpro logo on www.chemunique.co.za and click to follow the link.