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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Measuring backfat depth in sows to optimize feeding strategy

INRA Prod. Anim., 14(1), 41-50.


INRA., Unité Mixte de Recherches sur le Veau et le Porc, 35590 St-Gilles


Optimization of the reproductive performance of sowsand their longevity requires a flexible feeding strategy,based on the control of body reserves, in order to avoidtheir excessive mobilisation or storage, which both havedetrimental effects on reproduction. Pregnancy is thefavoured period for the restoration of adequate bodyreserves. This requires to be able to quantify the amountof body reserves, to determine reserve targets adapted toeach physiological stage, and, finally, to derive nutrientrequirement from these evaluations. An approach is proposedto quantify the energy requirements of gestatingsows according to a factorial approach which takes intoaccount the amount of body reserves to be rebuilt, on thebasis of body weight and ultrasonic measurements ofbackfat depth. According to the information available,from experiments or on farms, targets of 16 to 19 mm ofbackfat depth (measured at the level of the last rib, 6.5cm from the midline) are recommended at weaning, andtargets of 19 to 22 mm are recommended at farrowing,independently of parity number, for Large White xLandrace crossbred females. In order to meet theseobjectives in practice, the most important is to favourhigh feed intake during lactation, and to adapt the feedinglevel during gestation according to the extent ofmobilisation during the previous lactation.

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