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Kate Mellor

KE Senior Manager



Email Kate

M: cell 07973 701 202

Gilt Watch

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One of the biggest wins for herd performance is there for the taking by every producer and AHDB Pork is inviting producers to take part in Gilt Watch to help them achieve it. 

Across the industry, breeding herds need to retain more young sows in the herd if they are to make significant gains in physical and financial performance. 

It typically costs around £250 to rear each gilt, so putting the groundwork in to make sure they get past their first or second parity and reach their full lifetime potential is vital to get a return on that investment. 

undefinedA few simple steps are often all that are needed to achieve great gains but, first, we need to understand why young sows are failing in the first place. 

That’s why, for Gilt Watch, AHDB is getting together producers, from both indoor and outdoor units, to monitor gilt performance, work out where changes can be made and help put successful plans into practice. As well as picking up ideas from fellow producers, there will be advice on hand from a number of industry experts.  

Producers taking part will be: 

  • Monitoring individual performance from cohorts of gilts
    • Reasons for culling
    • Empty days
    • Litter size at first and second parities
  • Implementing changes to improve performance
  • Meeting twice a year to review progress, over two-year period
  • Sharing experience with the wider industry and benefiting from other producers’ ideas.

Producers should, ideally, have 120 sows or more and information for the first cohort of incoming gilts backdated from the start of January 2017 but, if not, the cohorts can be taken from when they join the project. 

Our targets as an industry are to: 

  • Retain 80 per cent or more gilts from the original gilt intake, to the point of a successful PD at their third gestation
  • Maintain good fertility and minimise empty days
  • Farrow with no evidence/minimal evidence of a ‘second litter drop’. 

For more information, email or call Kate Mellor on 07973 701202. 

AHDB Pork will be inviting producers to the first Gilt Watch meeting on 25 January 2018 with a dinner beforehand on the evening of 24 January 2018. Confirmation of your participation and further details will follow in the first week of January. 

Gilt Watch is an AHDB Farm Excellence initiative which uses technical events and farmer-to-farmer learning to accelerate the uptake of knowledge, and provides a framework for farmers to explore the potential impact that adopting best practice can have on their business.