As day length shortens, many producers notice a fall in sow productivity, with increased returns to service. It is important, where possible, to provide a 16-hours-light/ 8-hours-dark pattern and this is best achieved through time clocks rather than relying on stockmen to manually turn lights on and off, says Paul Thompson, veterinary consultant to pig-breeding company ACMC Ltd.
Lights need to be of at least 200 lux intensity. Pig producers should ensure that all lights are appropriately placed now and that fluorescent tubes and covers are clean for maximum output. Paul Thompson advises reviewing the previous year’s records for patterns of decreased performance so that the number of services can be increased to compensate. This may involve planning additional gilt.