Swine breeders in Ecuador
In Ecuador, pig farming contributes 8% to the agricultural GDP, generating approximately 80,000 direct jobs.
Pig farming in Latin America and Ecuador in recent years
The year 2021 has been a difficult year for the pig sector worldwide, due to the African Swine Fever epidemic, which has affected the main countries of Asia and Europe.
The leading pork producing countries worldwide are China (46.2%), the European Union (20.9%) and the United States (11.1%). In Latin America, Brazil, Mexico and Chile stand out (data from 2022).
Pig farming in Ecuador
In Ecuador, pig farming contributes 8% to the agricultural GDP, generating approximately 80,000 direct jobs. There are 100 pig-producing companies in the country, some large and most of them smaller.
In 2020, around 40,000 mother sows have been reported, among which about 4,000 were not productive.
In 2019, the sector produced 180 thousand tons of pork and in 2020, 170 thousand. The per capita consumption of pork meat also registered a small setback, from 11 kg per person, in 2019, to 10.50 kg in 2020.
Most of the pig farms are located in the Sierra and Costa regions, distributed between Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, Guayas, Pichincha, Manabí and El Oro.
The rise in prices of raw materials and the scarcity of inputs has caused some small producers to close. As a consequence of the national market, in March 2022, Ecuador authorized a Paraguayan company to export pork products in its territory.
Breeds of pigs in Ecuador
Pigs in Latin America have their origin in imported Iberian breeds.
Creole pigs, originating from the Iberian breeds, are found from Mexico to the extreme south of Argentina, from sea level to more than 4,500 meters of altitude, such as in the province of Chimborazo in Ecuador, and in some regions of Bolivia and Peru.
The pig that has lasted the longest is the hairless type, adapted to territories that go up to 2,000 meters of altitude.
Creole sows are disease resistant, highly adaptive and require little technology adoption for their rearing.
The main breeds found in Ecuador are: Hampshire, Yorkshire, Landrace, Poland China, Duroc, Large Black and Pietrain.
Phases in pig production
The production cycle takes place in two phases: reproduction (reproductive mothers that produce piglets) and the fattening phase (piglets that fatten up for the slaughterhouse).
Within reproduction, the sow goes through mating, gestation, parturition and weaning. The replacement sows are the future breeders (around 210 days of age and 120-140 kg of weight), then they become pregnant (duration between 114-119 days).
The farrowing of the sows is usually easy, without the need for human assistance and lasts approximately 3 hours.
Functional weaning is generally carried out between 30 and 42 days of age, with an average weight of 5-7 kg.
During lactation, the feeding of the mother sow is very important, to wean piglets with a good weight.
In the fattening phase, the main objective is to obtain a daily weight greater than 800 gr, a mortality of less than 2% and a feed conversion between 2.6 and 2.8. In optimal conditions, a pig arrives for sale with 23-25 weeks of life and a weight of approximately 100 kg.
As most of the production costs are in this stage, fattening, management and control conditions are important for a good economic performance.
In Ecuador, each sow produces 16.83 piglets per year. While, last year, in modernized farms this average was 22.4 piglets per sow per year, in non-technified farms the same rate was 9.6 pigs/sow/year.
Pig nutrition and disease prevention
Feeding plays a decisive role in pig health. The nutrition of mother sows and piglets must offer the necessary vitamins and minerals for their proper development.
To avoid diseases that can compromise the lives of pigs or can be transmitted to humans, apart from hygienic-sanitary measures and vaccination, prevention through food is the key.
Biovet S.A. has developed several natural additives that help prevent various diseases in pigs, such as:
- Alquerfeed Antitox – mycotoxin binder composed of Silicoglycidol. This molecule is specialized in binding mycotoxins without interfering with the absorption of nutrients in the digestive tract of pigs.
- Alquernat Nebsui – intestinal conditioner that contains pronutrients that promote the regeneration of enterocytes. The pronutrients, active molecules of botanical origin, allow a better absorption of nutrients from the diet, that will later become part of the milk.
- Alquernat Livol – liver conditioner, stimulates the production of protein and metabolism of nutrients in the liver, which will end up forming part of the sow’s milk.
- Alquernat Immuplus – composed of immunostimulant pronutrients, in pregnant sows, they improve the number of specific and non-specific immune effects that will be present in the colostrum.
These molecules are a natural tool to improve productivity in pig farms, and represent a great advance in improving animal physiology, especially in intensive farming conditions.