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3-minute read

Improving Sow Nutrition Boosts Piglet Performance

Piglet in a commercial farm
Dr. Wes Schweer

Swine Nutritionist
Zinpro Corporation

If you read the Essential Feed blog on a regular basis, you know by now that supplementing your sows with zinc, manganese and copper from performance trace minerals improves health and reproductive performance. It does so, primarily, by controlling inflammation and improving the health of your sows, making them more productive. This allows for nutrients to be diverted toward producing healthy, robust piglets instead of mounting an immune response.

But how can we see the results of feeding performance trace minerals? You can’t exactly tell just by looking at a sow that it is experiencing less inflammation. The results can be seen, though, through other production-relevant metrics that are captured at the farm on a regular basis:

  • Pigs born alive
  • Birth weight
  • Pigs weaned
  • Weaning weight
  • Lactation feed intake

These are the metrics that add up to better-performing pigs and higher profits for your operation.

Read more: Trace Minerals Can Counter Reproductive Problems in Swine

We recently completed a meta-analysis that included nine studies covering 12 reproduction cycles over a 10-year span. The study analyzes data collected from more than 1,400 sows at academic and commercial research facilities from around the world and shows consistent improvements in production metrics in sows fed performance trace minerals (Availa®Sow).

Production Improvement Across the Board

The average increase in lactation feed intake was 130 grams (0.29 pounds) per day, reaching as high as 340 grams (0.75 pounds) per day improvement in one study. If your sows consume more feed, they also drink more water and in turn produce more milk. This will result in more healthy piglets that make it to weaning, especially given the other known benefits in colostrum and milk from sows fed performance trace minerals.

What stood out the most in this analysis was the impact on the number of pigs born alive. In sows fed Availa-Sow, we saw an average increase in 0.32 pigs per litter and improvements up to 0.68 piglets per litter in some instances. This comes out to about three-quarters of a pig per sow per year on average.

In addition to an increase in the number of pigs born alive, the analysis also revealed the following improvements:

  • Birthweight: 26 grams (0.06 pounds) per pig on average, up to 65 grams (0.14 pounds) per pig
  • Number of pigs weaned: 0.08 pigs per litter on average, up to 0.3 pigs per litter
  • Weaning weight: 80 grams (0.18 pounds) per pig on average, up to 155 grams (0.34 pounds)

Healthy Sows Produce Robust Pigs

Simply put, if you produce a healthier sow, it is reflected in litter performance. By effectively controlling inflammation, we can ensure that energy and nutrients are being diverted to support increased litter size and performance. The end result: boosted profitability on your swine operation.

Visit our website or contact your Zinpro representative today to discover more about improving your sow performance.

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