If foods designed to give maximum growth were put on the market, 60 to 70 per cent of the pigs in the country would be incapable of using them and in fact, far from giving maximum growth they would be more likely to give maximum mortality.
This was stated last week by Mr Phillip Waddoup, pig specialist of John Thompson and Sons Ltd, speaking at a Press conference in Belfast to launch the firm’s new feed, 3:30 Early Creep.
“For the last few years there has been a noticeable gap in the introduction of the new pig feeds, which may suggest to the uninformed that research work in this field is not being carried out,” said Mr Waddoup.
“This is far from being true and we would like to suggest that the main reason is that nutritional advance is ahead of progress in the field of genetics.”
Turning to the new meal, Mr Waddoup pointed out that when one considered the economics of 3:30 the fact that in trial results there were positive weight gains of three lbs per pig and today’s weaner prices of 2s-6d to 2s-8d per lb, the advantages were obvious.
“Furthermore a two-week old pig has a food conversion which obviously favours early feeding,” he said.
“Other advantages which are not so obvious are the result of less strain on the sow as the pig becomes less dependant on her.
“She losses weight during suckling which will not have to be replaced later by heavier feeding. Very often too, when weight loses is less, she will come on heat sooner after weaning and conception rate is higher.”
Mr Waddouop said that in trials so far the food had been trouble free and he felt that this was not only due to the choice of quality materials but very much to the fact that the baby pig’s gut became accustomed to solid food from an early stage and provided extra nutrients and vitamins so essential for healthy growth.
Posing the question, “why do we need another creep food on the market,” he said that most pig farmers today accepted the value of creep food but would very often comment that very early creep feeding was not common and first uptake would usually concur at 10 to 12 days.