An appropriate feed intake is crucial for the health, performance, reproduction and longevity of the sow. The Danish and the North American feeding systems are the two main feeding regimens used in the world. The total feed provided to sows in gestation is approximately the same in the two systems. However, the pattern of intakes differs dramatically during early and middle gestation, with the two systems being contradictory in recommendations. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of the North American and the Danish feeding strategies on the reproductive performance of sows during gestation. For that purpose, a total of 1121 Landrace x Yorkshire crossbred sows of parity from 1 to 4 were randomly assigned to a North American System feeding pattern or to a Danish System feeding pattern during gestation based on backfat thickness and body weight. All sows were fed a common corn-soybean-based meal gestating diet during gestation and another corn-soybean lactation diet during lactation. During gestation, the feeding strategy was applied, but after parturition, all sows were fed ad libitum.
Results showed that over the entire gestation period, there was no difference in average daily feed intake and total feed intake between the two groups. The Danish system group significantly improved the backfat thickness at d30 of gestation. However, at d110 of gestation, there was no difference in the backfat thickness between the two groups. The sows fed according to the Danish strategy had a significantly improved number of total born piglets and born alive. The number of total born, stillborn and mummified piglets, were significantly different in between parities of sows. As for the number of weaned pigs, litter weight and piglet weight at weaning, and weaning to oestrus interval, no difference was observed between the two groups. However, a significant increase in litter weight and piglet weight at weaning was associated with parity of sow.
In conclusion, the results showed that the Danish feeding system could significantly increase the litter size and the number of born alive piglets, suggesting that the Danish system could be applied to North American genotypes.
Zhou, Y. F., Zhang, X. M., Wang, C., Wei, H. K., Jiang, S. W., and Peng, J. (2019). Effects of North American and Danish feeding strategies on the reproductive performance of American Landrace-Yorkshire crossbred sows during gestation. Livestock Science, 228, 67-71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2019.07.025