Feeding your way to more Camborough® performance

The industry-leading Camborough delivers a competitive advantage in cost per weaned pig, which can be enhanced by meeting her nutrition requirements.

By Sergio Canavate, DVM, Technical Services Manager, Uislei Orlando, Ph.D., Global Nutrition Programs Director and Juan Carlos Pinilla, DVM, MSc, Technical Services

The Camborough is a proven powerhouse. She costs less to feed per weaned pig, averaging 100 kg (220 lb) less feed usage per year than other sows, and she can be bred earlier for more productive days in her lifetime.

As Camborough genetics have evolved, so have nutrition and feeding recommendations. If she isn’t fed appropriately, performance may be left on the table and lifetime performance could be compromised.

Here’s how to feed the Camborough to maximize her efficiency and performance:

Use body condition as your north star

Over-conditioned sows are more likely to have reproductive and locomotion issues, higher maintenance nutritional requirements and higher removal rates. They also could require more intense and frequent farrowing assistance with a limited appetite while lactating.

Overweight sows can also be more costly to feed, adding up to an extra $18.75 CAD per sow per year by consuming an additional 0.23 kg (0.5 lb) of feed per day.[1] At the same time, thin sows are more likely to have lighter birth and weaning weights, smaller litters, compromised milking ability and lower survivability rates.

Sows in ideal condition will be better mothers and require fewer inputs. Strive for these body condition goals:

  • Target at least 90% of sows in ideal condition at farrowing.
  • Minimize thin sows at farrowing and over-conditioned sows at weaning.
  • Assess body condition at first breeding, farrowing, weaning and prior to preg check to identify outliers – sows overweight or in thin condition. Group sows by body condition and parity to make necessary feeding adjustments.
  • Record body condition to evaluate how the herd responds to changes in feeding strategies over time.

Feed gilts to hit age and weight targets

Camborough gilts should be bred between 200-225 days of age and between 135-160 kg (300-350 lb) up to 50 days earlier and 27 kg (60 lb) lighter than other genetic lines. It’s also important to target gilts hitting puberty before 195 days of age and breeding on second estrus. Research shows delaying breeding to the second estrus has a positive effect on litter size if the gilt meets minimum weight targets.

Hitting these targets can save over $18 CAD[2] per inventoried sow annually, due to less non-productive days, lower maintenance requirements and improved feed efficiency.

Provide gilts with unlimited feed access and aim for 600-800 g (1.32-1.76 lb) average daily gain from birth to breeding to hit age and weight targets.

Keep an eye on bred gilt feed and water intake throughout their first gestation, as they’re still acclimating to a new housing environment.

Strive for ideal condition at farrowing for lactation success

Nutritional needs rise significantly from farrowing through lactation, which is when sows are most vulnerable to lose condition and end up thin. The best way to prepare sows for a successful lactation is getting them in ideal condition headed into farrowing. Thin and over-conditioned sows are proven to lose more condition during lactation compared to sows in ideal condition.

It is important to ensure sows receive adequate nutrition as soon as they’re bred. Recent studies showed increasing feeding levels from 1.5 kg/day (3.3 lb/day) to 2.8 kg/day (6.2 lb/day) immediately after breeding resulted in increased progesterone secretion and embryo survival in Camborough gilts.[3]

Eliminate bump feeding practices unless it’s used for thin females. Bump feeding sows in ideal body condition isn’t shown to provide tangible benefits and can result in a higher stillborn percentage, decreased lactation feed intake and over-conditioned sows.[4]

Support more quality weaned pigs through peripartum and lactation

Peripartum and lactation feeding practices must provide sows with the right nutrition to farrow healthy piglets and give the piglets the best opportunity to become quality weaned pigs.

Feed sows more frequently in the farrowing stall to help decrease farrowing assistance. Limited farrowing assistance can reduce stillbirth rate and may even improve pre-weaning livability.[5]

Once piglets are born, provide sows with full feed. Ad lib lactation feeding is shown to improve piglet daily gain compared to a 5- and 8-day step-up program.[6]

Get the most out of the Camborough by following these feeding and nutrition management recommendations. Use this two-page guide for moreCamborough feeding and management best practices.

Looking for a deeper dive into sow nutrition specifics? See the PIC Nutrition and Feeding Guidelines or contact your PIC representative.


[1] Assumptions: Gestation days = (365 – (22+3) x 2.5)) = 302 days/individual sow. Adjusted by open sows and mortality (10%) = 302 days x 10% = 333 days. Gestation diet cost: $0.1/lb.

[2] 50 days x 6 lbs/d x $0.1.lb = $30/gilt. Assuming a 50% replacement rate, the cost per inventory = $15 USD. $15 USD = $18.48 CAD based on conversion rate on 6/24/21.

[3] PIC Nutrition and Feeding Guidelines. 2021. Page H-5. Early-Gestation Feeding.

[4] PIC Nutrition and Feeding Guidelines. 2021. Table H2 and H3, page H-6. Descriptive Summary of Experiments Evaluating the Impact of Increased Feed Intake During Late Gestation on Gilt/Sow Body Weight Gain and Piglet Birth Weight.

[5] PIC Nutrition and Feeding Guidelines. 2021. Page H-8. Peripartum Feeding.

[6] PIC Nutrition and Feeding Guidelines. 2021. Section I, Page I-1. Lactating Gilt and Sow.