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4 minute read

Performance Trace Minerals for Greater Swine Lifetime Performance®

Swine Lifetime Performance icon
Dr. Wes Schweer

Swine Nutritionist
Zinpro Corporation

Click here to download this article as an infographic

Feeding performance trace minerals is essential to maximizing the production performance of your swine herd. While dietary trace mineral levels are important, trace mineral source is equally as important when making considerations for your swine nutrition program. To truly thrive, piglets, growing-finishing pigs, gilts, sows and boars must receive optimum performance trace mineral nutrition throughout each life stage.

Zinpro Lifetime Performance® starts at birth to improve intestinal integrity and morphology. A pig’s ability to absorb more nutrients allows nutrients to be utilized for growth, production and reproduction, improving performance at each stage of their life.

Improving A Piglets Ability to Respond

The gut serves two primary functions in pigs: digestive function (let in the good) and barrier function (keep out the bad). Including performance trace minerals in the gestating sow’s diet improves gastrointestinal tract integrity and development in piglets. When an animal has poor gut integrity, pathogenic bacteria and other toxins pass between the epithelial cells, stimulating an immune response.

Supplementing sow diets with performance trace minerals, such as Availa®Zn from Zinpro, during gestation results in increased intestinal villi height and an increased villi height to crypt depth ratio in piglets. This provides a greater surface area within the gut for the piglet to absorb nutrients.

Bar graphs showing villus height crypt depth ratio in 14-day old nursing piglets

Feeding performance trace minerals to gestating sows also increases the intraepithelial lymphocytes in 14-day-old nursing piglets. This means more immune cells are present to mount a quick, robust response to a challenge.

Benefits of Performance Trace Minerals in the Growth Stage

Growth performance and average daily gain are tied to feed intake and nutrient absorption, which in turn are tied back to gut integrity. A robust gastrointestinal tract will prevent pathogens from passing from the gut into the bloodstream. This reduces the chance for immune system stimulation and allows for more nutrients to be available to the animal for growth. Research shows that feeding performance trace minerals, such as copper from Availa®Cu and zinc from Availa-Zn, increases average daily gain by 5 percent in grow-finish pigs weighing between 55 and 255 pounds (25 to 115 kg).

bar graph showing growth performance

Performance Trace Minerals Help Mitigate Stress

Stress has a negative impact on swine production. It leads to reduced feed intake resulting in lower rates of gain, less growth and an overall negative impact on the wellness of a pig. Stressors are additive and multiply performance losses.

Managing the effects of stress events in swine, such as heat stress or weaning stress, is also tied back to intestinal integrity. Performance trace minerals support the immune competence of pigs, helping the animal mount a more robust immune response.

Feeding zinc from Availa-Zn enhances gut robustness and reduces the immune stimulating effects of leaky gut. Research shows pigs fed zinc from Availa-Zn had higher transepithelial resistance (TER) levels, which equates to improved gut integrity compared to animals fed the control diet following 12 hours of exposure to acute heat stress conditions.

bar graph showing ileal transepithelial electrical resistance

Improve Reproduction

Lameness in sows has a direct, negative impact on sow reproduction. In addition to physical stress and animal wellness concerns, lameness triggers an immune response, which pulls nutrients away from reproduction. Additionally, lame sows will typically consume less feed in lactation further compounding production losses.

Research shows feeding Availa®Sow decreases the incidence and severity of lameness in sows, which in turn helps improve reproductive performance and milk production. Feeding Availa-Sow in gestation and lactation increases weaning weight over 200 grams on average compared to inorganic minerals alone.

bar graph showing pig weaning weight

Feeding the Best For A Lifetime

Including Zinpro Performance Minerals® in your swine nutrition program benefits every life stage from birth to growth, to production through reproduction. Success early in life begins by supplementing gestating and lactating sows with Zinpro Performance Minerals, improving intestinal integrity in piglets and sow milk production which allows more nutrients to be used for growth. As animals mature, feeding performance trace mineral also help animals successfully manage stress events and increase productive performance outcomes.

To learn about improving swine wellness and performance at every production stage, read more about Zinpro Lifetime Performance®.

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