Can supplemental fat in lactation diets offset the effects of high temperatures?

Research suggests that, in the modern prolific sow, the use of additional dietary fat increased feed disappearance and energy intake. But, while adding fat to lactation diets for P3+ sows improved litter growth rate, it was not beneficial for first and second parity sows


The lactating sow is a veritable power plant, requiring vast amounts of nutrients for milk production, including upwards of 78 per cent of her net energy requirement, and also producing heat in the process.

Dietary clays help prevent diarrhea in weaned pigs

Experiments at the University of Illinois provide strong evidence that clays can be useful in preventing diarrhea in weaned pigs, but more research is needed to discover how this works


Clays are naturally occurring materials that have been widely used in swine diets to bind mycotoxins, which can otherwise prove detrimental to animal health and production. In addition, several literature reviews have suggested that clays may have antibacterial or antidiarrheic properties.

Since there are a wide variety of clays available on the market, each with their own individual chemical structure, there may be a large variation in the mechanism involved and the ultimate level of protection.

Betaine during lactation benefits sow and piglet performance

Spanish research suggests that the use of supplemental betaine can improve sow feed intake, reduce the weaning-to-estrus interval, increase the numbers of piglets born alive and weaned piglets per litter in the subsequent parity


Betaine is a byproduct of molasses production from sugar beets. It has been used as a nutritional supplement in finishing diets to improve performance after research showed that it can increase carcass leanness and improve feed efficiency. While research has focused mainly on betaine’s use in finishers, there is limited information on its effects on reproductive performance in sows.

Spray-dried plasma diet helps intestinal function in weaned pigs

A North Carolina experiment suggests that adding SDPP during weaning can be effective in decreasing intestinal barrier dysfunction, mucosal inflammation and diarrhea


Weaning is one of the most stressful periods in a pig’s life. During weaning, young pigs are forced to deal with a whole host of stressors, ranging from separation from the sow and its littermates, to transportation and mixing with strange pigs, abrupt changes in diet and exposure to new disease challenges.

Study shows that Omega-3 from fish oil can help increase sow litter size

But more work is needed to determine the possible mechanisms behind this response


Research has shown that diets which supplement Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) from fish oil can improve reproductive performance in dairy cows and ewes, but there is little known about its effects in sows.

A research paper from 1970 reported an increase in litter size born in first and second parity sows when diets containing fish meal were fed during the first two parities. However, other studies have yielded inconsistent results.

Fine-tuning threonine requirement for sows

University of Alberta research offers some preliminary conclusions on the requirements for essential amino acids in gestating sows


Popular thought on nutrition for sows suggests that producers provide a fixed amount of amino acid intake throughout gestation. This recommendation is based on the assumption that the requirement remains constant throughout gestation.

However, recent information has revealed that the demand for nutrients changes as the sow transitions from recovering maternal lean tissue in early gestation to the growth of fetal and mammary tissue in late gestation.

The vital role arginine plays in gestation

Research suggests that placental insufficiency is a major factor contributing to suboptimal reproductive performance and low birth weights in piglets and that these amino acids play an important part in improving pregnancy outcomes in pigs


In the swine industry, prenatal mortality can run as high as 50 per cent, with the bulk of embryo loss occurring during the first two to three weeks after breeding. Factors generally associated with embryo loss include the stage of pregnancy, health status, sow age, genetics, nutritional status, external environment, intrauterine environment and stress.

Could spray-dried plasma be a source of PCV2?

U.S. research suggests that porcine SDP could represent a biosecurity risk for the pork industry and, as a result, bears further scrutiny


Incorporating spray-dried plasma (SDP) into the diet of weaned pigs has been proven to increase feed intake and growth performance. However, limited research has been carried out to confirm that the spray-drying process eliminates viral contaminants, such as porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2). Fear of spreading the virus has resulted in some producers removing plasma proteins from their rations completely.