New research from Cargill has shown it is possible to increase piglet livability by up to five percent by using new nutritional strategies that help reduce stillbirths and preweaning mortality. This is equivalent to nearly two weaned piglets per sow per year, or $50 of additional income per sow.

“The improvement in total born piglets we have seen in recent years is still not fully reflected in the performance of many sow units. Larger litter sizes have added up to two weaned piglets per sow per year in the past five years across Europe, but piglet livability rates are not improving at the same pace. There is, therefore, scope to improve sow unit efficiency,” says Cargill Global Swine Technology Leader Marc Decoux. “Our goal is to help producers achieve this potential and take advantage of the improved breed genetics by developing nutritional solutions.”

Support both sow and litter for optimal effect

Enhanced nutrition, along with better sow and piglet management, can have a positive impact on piglet livability. “We have used Cargill’s unique research capabilities alongside our close connection with pig producers to improve nutritional programs. These have been designed to support the sow and her litter at key stages in the production cycle,” adds Decoux.

Developed with the latest research insights, the Livelle feeding program for sows targets two key periods that affect piglet livability: the weaning to oestrus interval and the transition between gestations to early lactation.

The addition of Livelle Profert in sow diets from weaning to oestrus has been shown to improve piglet birthweights by nearly 100g and to reduce the proportion of small piglets in a litter by 40 percent. Formulating sow diets following the Livelle Transition concept, used around parturition, has also been shown to significantly increase piglet birthweight by 2.7 percent and piglet viability by 2.1 percent.


“Producers consistently observed improvements beyond what can be achieved with conventional feeding programs, confirming the need for these advanced nutritional programs that can meet the requirements of the modern sow,” adds Decoux.

To complement the sow’s milk and limit cross-fostering, Livelle sow programs are combined with the unique Neopigg RescueCare piglet liquid feeding system. This feeding system ensures that the nutritional requirements of the whole litter are met to maximize sow productivity. The system is automatic, supplying fresh liquid feed, 24/7, to piglets in the farrowing crate.

Increase in average piglet weaning weight

Pig farmers using Neopigg RescueCare observed an increase in average piglet weaning weight, as well as improved livability and an increase in productive sow days. This represented an average of 15kg more litter weight at weaning.

“Improving piglet livability is a major challenge for today’s pig producers and the economics of improved pig livability are well proven. Cargill’s nutritional solutions help achieve high piglet livability, even in large litters, and unprecedented improvements in sow unit efficiency and sustainability,” concludes Decoux.

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