DanBred Case Story: Kongstedgaard

Can best management practice increase sow longevity?

400 sows, 16-17 liveborn piglets per litter, and an increase in longevity.

We’ve increased the sow longevity from 85 % to 95 %.
Jes Meldgaard Philipsen
Owner of Kongstedgaard

About Kongstedgaard

In idyllic surroundings in southern Jutland, Denmark, you can find one of DanBred’s valuable and loyal partners: Kongstedgaard, owned by Jes Meldgaard Philipsen, who has relied on DanBred genetics for many years. He owns a multiplication, with a little over 400 sows, as well as a finisher farm.

We have visited Jes in the multiplication to learn more about his management routines, particularly, what initiatives could be the reasons behind the increase in sow longevity from 85 % to 95 % from January 2022 to April 2022. This is great progress, but, of course, Jes is also focused on how he can be sure to keep up this progress going forward. Since January 2021, Kongstedgaard has been a part of SEGES Innovation’s project “SoLiv 2.0” (in English: SowLife 2.0). The goal of this initiative is to improve sow longevity.

 

Sow longevity is already a part of DanBred’s breeding goal

Sow longevity is already a part of DanBred’s breeding goal – and has been for more than 10 years. Our R&D department continuously work to improve how we breed for sow longevity, and a current PhD project actually shows promising results that can contribute to increased sow longevity. But best management practices, such as optimal housing, feeding, gastric health, weight, back fat and leg condition, also has a huge influence on the longevity of the sows. One way to get started, is with our Gilt Rearing Manual, where you can find practical advice for ensuring optimal conditions through the rearing unit.

The more you’re present in the stables, the higher the probability that you discover the sickness early on, and with that, the MUCH higher the probability of the sow getting well again.

Jes Meldgaard Philipsen, Owner of Kongstedgaard

BURNING QUESTIONS

Testimonial experiences with management practice

I began sharing my data with SEGES Innovation a little over one year ago, in the beginning of 2021. So, each month, I get a data extract from my herd, which gives me a good overview of the reasons why my sows die. Based on this information, I know exactly where to focus my efforts. I believe we’re all interested in that, right? I want my sows to live as good, long, and productive lives as possible.

 

At the same time, I began this cooperation with SEGES Innovation, we also implemented several other initiatives in the multiplication – with the specific goal to raise sow longevity.

We’re working with living creatures, so it’s always very hard to say exactly what made the big difference – and whether it’ll continue – but from January 2022 to April 2022, we’ve increased the sow longevity from 85 % to 95 %. And we’re very pleased with those results!

 

Now, we’re testing what the reasons behind the progress may be, so we can be sure to carry on this way.

As I mentioned, it’s really hard to say, but we’ve done several things.

 

The animals should be in good condition. We make sure they get up to eat and drink two to three times a day, it’s good for their health and it also makes it possible for us to get a good look at them. It’s very important that the sows drink plenty of water, and to ensure a good gut health we use Fibermix in the feed. We clean the system for liquid feed – including pipes – twice a year.

 

In the fall 2021, we got a new, dedicated employee at the multiplication. First of all, he’s here fulltime, which means he checks all the sow multiple times throughout the day. The more you’re present in the stables, the higher the probability that you discover the sickness early on, and with that, the MUCH higher the probability of the sow getting well again. Second of all, he’s also implemented a few new management routines that may have had an impact, e.g., he gives the sows more straw than they previously got. And then, he’s just really good.

I have three fulltime employees at the multiplication, and two fulltime employees at the finisher farm – which means I can work part time. Dedicated and motivated employees are really important, when we talk about best management practices.

We attach great importance to the raw materials.

 

We produce as much of our own grain as we can, and then we buy the rest – about 30-40 % – locally. We prefer to buy it locally, because we can be certain of what we get, how it’s produced etc

Now, we’re testing what the reasons behind the progress may be, so we can be sure to carry on this way.

Jes Meldgaard Philipsen, Owner of Kongstedgaard

SEGES Innovation “SoLiv 2.0” – Danish trials to increase sow longevity

The first step towards higher sow longevity is an overview of why your sows die. “SoLiv 2.0” by SEGES Innovation helps with proper registration of dead sows and a monthly analysis of the spread of reasons behind this.

 

SEGES Innovation follows the sow mortality in Danish herds to be able to implement targeted initiatives to increase sow longevity nation-wide. 

The trial is only for Danish herds for now.

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