Earl l’Orée du Bois pay particular attention to two essential indicators:
Kg produced per sow per year
(i.e. 700 kg more than the French average)
Feed conversion ratio
(i.e. 0.3 less than the French average)
Until 2017, I used the same breed as my pig producer organisation uses, a French breed. I peaked at around 11 or 12 weaned pigs despite carrying out a lot of work. It was impossible to work effectively in the farrowing house: the sows asked for too much assistance and assistance with farrowing was needed for almost every birth. The performances were weak and the potential insufficient.
From the farrowing of the first DanBred gilts, I knew I had made the right choice! Farrowing is easy, they have great prolificacy, and the DanBred sows produce a lot of milk. From 2017 to 2021, I went from 11.7 to 15.8 weaned pigs per litter. That’s four more weaned pigs per litter in just four years! To put it another way, it’s 10 more weaned piglets per sow per year.
The DanBred sow and the DanBred Duroc complement each other well and form a super-efficient genetic pairing. The DanBred sow guarantees high productivity, thanks to its milk-producing and maternal qualities. This productivity is further enhanced by DanBred Duroc, thanks to its vigorous piglets, which ease the workload in the farrowing house. DanBred Duroc also provides exceptional performance in terms of finisher traits. DanBred pigs (100 % DanBred genetics) are therefore very efficient.
Sow to be weaned
Ultimately, I pay particular attention to two essential indicators:
This is the key question to ask yourself as soon as you think about changing breeds! The much higher productivity of the DanBred pair produces additional and efficient pigs, provided that the loading in post-weaning/finishing is respected. Therefore, you need to choose the right strategy to reduce the costs of piglet production and maximise finisher performance: either sell piglets, build additional post-weaning/finisher units, or reduce the number of sows.
Personally, I quickly started reducing my sow herd to be consistent with my post-weaning and finisher capacities. I gradually went from 230 to 182 sows. My objective is 336 weaned piglets per batch. Today, 22 sows per batch is enough to achieve this goal. This means that my costs have been greatly reduced, as I can produce the same number of piglets with fewer sows to feed.
That means, I respect the standards of loading in post-weaning/finishing well and take advantage of the finisher performance of the DanBred breed. I’m looking for the highest possible growth to reduce cycle time and save space.
I also reviewed the quality of my sow feed to make sure it is in line with the very high level of births. Given the prolificacy, 21 days until weaning is no longer of interest, 28 days until weaning is clearly the right choice. It facilitates the management of inseminations and eliminates the risk of having sows with a nursing period of less than 18 days. It also facilitates post-weaning management.
Piglets, 3 weeks post weaning
In terms of productivity, the gain was so great to begin with that the increase has now slowed down a bit. But I have plans for new farrowing houses, and this may encourage additional gain. On the other hand, I see that it is clearly possible to have even better post-weaning/finisher performance, I just looked at my charts and there’s already been a response! There’s still progress for the ADG.
DanBred pigs, here at 166 days old
The work in the farrowing unit has become easier as the sows need less assistance. With the right feed, the genetic potential is so great that high performance is almost guaranteed!
The farm also has an on-farm feed production site and has 160 hectares of land. I take care of the fertilisers, insecticides and stubble cultivation, while I delegate planting, harvesting and slurry to others.
We can help you transition to DanBred genetics, technical services, transport and more. Book a time with us, and we will call you when it suits you.
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