DanBred Case: Folhados Farm

We take care of the sow,
she takes care of the piglets

"We thought we’d reached the roof when it came to the number of weaned pigs. But, since, we’ve added two more weaned pigs per litter to our average."

Folhados Farm is one of the best pig productions in Brazil, particularly, in terms of weaning piglets. For almost 30 years, the manager, Luiz Carlos Crestani, has worked intensively on improving management and finding the right genetics to keep increasing the number of weaned pigs.

In the beginning, they did not know how to get the full benefits from the extra productivity – but now, they get record-breaking results in the Brazilian market, without extra work for the employees. Quite on the contrary, they argue the DanBred sow takes care of the piglets.

Litter of piglets at Folhados Farm

Now, you can learn from Folhados’ practical experiences…


Testimonial experiences with DanBred genetics

When I started working at the farm in 1994, we used genetics from another company, the same as most other farms in Brazil. And the productivity was very low. We had a lot more employees back then, but it was no help, because we didn’t have the best routines in place.

We switched genetics around year 2000, and this was the first time we revolutionised how the Brazilian market looked at productivity. Although, we didn’t know how to utilise the higher productivity, like how to feed the sow sufficiently or manage the increased number of piglets. We spent the next few years learning and understanding the potential better. But the quality of the animals varied a lot, there was no standard.

So, in 2009, we bought the first 100 DanBred sows. And it had a huge impact on our results!

Already at farrowing of the first piglets, we had one more liveborn pig per litter. This was very good, so we decided to change the entire herd to DanBred genetics.

We went from 2,100 sows in 1994 to 1,800 sows in 2009, because of the higher productivity – we could produce more piglets with fewer sows.

We set a goal: the improvements we had in number of liveborn pigs, we wanted the same in number of weaned pigs. We teamed up with partners who could help us with correct nutrition, biosecurity practices etc., so we could get the full potential from the DanBred genetics.

And we could do this. The improvements in liveborn, caused by DanBred’s breeding progress, also became huge improvements in weaned pigs. From 2010 to 2015, we revolutionised the Brazilian market once again with this increase in weaned piglets.

We increased the number of sows to 2,350 to produce even more pigs.

The next few years, we improved steadily. In 2018, we weaned almost three pigs more than the national average in the Brazilian market. And we thought we’d reached the roof when it came to the number of weaned pigs. But, since, we’ve added two more weaned pigs per litter to our average.

Geraldo Shukuri, Technical Director in DanBred Brasil, told us that the DanBred sow can wean many piglets – even more than she has teats for – and that’s what we worked on achieving. We wanted to understand and learn how to help the sow improve the number of weaned pigs, for example through correct feeding etc.

In our opinion, we can reach many more weaned piglets without any extra work for the employees at the farm. On the contrary, as long as we take care of the sow, she will take care of the piglets. For example, when the sow is given a higher number of piglets, she produces more milk. And we have reduced the number of nurse sows a lot, because each sow can take care of more piglets.

The sow has a lot of potential, and we want to give the sow the opportunity to utilise the potential. This is not the end; we can improve even more.

There’s no limit! We strongly believe we can wean even more. What will be the potential of the sow? 42, 45, or, who knows, 50 piglets per sow per year? We enjoy the high-prolific sow, and we want the best benefits of the sows.

Switching to DanBred genetics has also affected our results for weaners and finishers, the improvements are not limited to piglets. We get heavier and more robust pigs from birth to slaughter.

Do you want to learn more about how to feed your sows?

You can find practical recommendations for optimal feeding from mating until farrowing in DanBred’s Sow & Gilt Manual

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