Submitted to: Mizzou Pork Pages
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/22/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Segregated early weaning (SEW) has become a common practice for commercial swine producers in the U.S. in an effort to eradicate diseases in swine herds and improve post-weaning performance. However, variations in growth performance have been reported among research studies designed to evaluate SEW programs. Therefore, the purpose of this manuscript was to provide a brief review of the major advantages and disadvantages of using SEW production systems. The biology associated with increased productivity and performance in SEW pigs is straightforward. Segregated production systems reduce the number of challenges to the pig's immune system, thus a pig will utilize less of its nutritional energy to combat pathogenic challenges resulting in more energy available for growth. Additionally, it is well documented that healthy pigs have greater appetites that result in greater daily feed intakes providing additional energy for growth. Executing a SEW Wprogram requires that all piglets are weaned together at an early age (5 t 21 days of age) and then physically separated from the sows by implementing one of two basic management schemes: 1) removing the sows following weaning to a centralized breeding and gestation facility or 2) transporting the weaned piglets to a site away from the farrowing site. In general, if a swine herd is clean (i.e., relatively disease-free), then implementing a SEW program would not be as economically beneficial because the enhanced growth and performance would be less than that for pigs originating from a dirty farm.