Pig farmers Pieter Bloem and third generation Gavin and Nicole are firm advocates for Milkiwean Yoghurt, having noted significant improvements in piglet performance and even sow condition since introducing it 3 years ago.
In their opinion, there’s no better product for rearing piglets.
Bloem Farm in the Otago Peninsula is home to 290 sows and 4,000 layers (chickens).
Approximately 12-14 sows farrow each week. The piglets are reared by sow and supplemented with Milkiwean Yoghurt for about 23 days, when they are weaned and weigh in at around 6-7kgs.
“Three years ago, we were struggling to get the piglets to 6kg by weaning” says Pieter. “We had lower numbers weaned per sow.
“Now we’re easily reaching our target weights and nudging 30 piglets per sow in a year.”
Milkiwean Yoghurt is not a milk replacer, it’s a supplementary liquid feed for young piglets offered in addition to sow milk 24 hours after birth (day 1) through to day 14, or in this case, ‘til weaning.
The Bloem management team are happy to say that Milkiwean Yoghurt has exceeded their expectations.
“A big change for us is how easy it is to shunt wean” adds Pieter.
“What was normally a difficult process (successfully putting new piglets onto a different sow) is no longer a problem. We’re doing up 3 shunts from the 12 to 14 sows farrowed.”
The sows are rearing bigger numbers of piglets successfully too – up to 15 at a time – and are still in good condition for subsequent mating.
Containing three times as much dry matter as regular milk substitutes, Milkiwean Yoghurt is designed to help piglets survive and thrive, promoting early feed intake, while supporting good functioning of the digestive system.
Following AgriVantage Business Manager Warren Tanner’s advice on how to present the product was important, notes Pieter.
“Don’t feed the piglets too much, introduce quantities that they can eat in 3 hours. Also, it should be fed fresh as it becomes unpalatable if left too long.”
Proven benefits of Milkiwean Yoghurt are better growth and organ development, less disease and piglet mortality (+ 1 piglet/litter), better growth (+ 500g/day up to 21 days), improved feed conversion in fattening and increased performance long term.
Nicole, who does a lot of the piglet management, agrees with much of this.
“We see ready uptake from piglets as young as a day old” she says. “Once they taste a bit of yoghurt off your finger, they’re onto it.
“There’s been a definite decrease in piglet mortality. Plus, we’re recording better growth after weaning with no growth check.”
Pieter agrees that they see significantly less slow growers, noting that their slaughter weight has increased by about 3kg/head (at 18 weeks) over the last 3 years.*
“I’d describe Milkiwean as highly cost-effective and essential to our rearing operation” Pieter concludes. “There’s no other product on the market like it.”
*The Bloems have also modified their feeding plan post-weaning, giving the piglets a liquid gruel feed with additional milk powder for two weeks. In the past they were only fed dry food.