August 04, 2019

Interpretive Summary: Increased energy and amino acid intake during late gestation of sows

Interpretive Summary:  Effects of increased energy and amino acid intake in late gestation on reproductive performance, milk composition, metabolic, and redox status of sows.

By: Jackie Walling

A recent article published in the Journal of Animal Science determines the effects of increased energy and amino acid intake during late gestation on sow performance. It is critical during fetus development to meet nutritional requirements of sows during late gestation. Studies have shown the need for lysine increases as gestation progresses while the overall energy requirement remains constant. The goal of the study was to investigate if an increase in energy and amino acids (AA) effect on litter performance by looking at reproductive performance, milk composition, metabolic patterns, and redox status.

A total of 118 multiparous Yorkshire sows were divided into four dietary treatments and housed individually starting at 90 days of gestation. A factorial design was used with diet combos that consisted of two standardized ileal digestible (SID) AA levels (Either 14.7 or 20.6 g/d SID Lys) and two energy levels (28.24 or 33.76 MJ/d). When sows farrowed, they were fed a commercial lactation diet until day 21 of lactation with an increase in intake of 1 kg/d for five days. Sow and piglet weights were recorded, and blood samples were collected from sows to measure metabolism, redox status, and AA profile.

Results showed sow body weight (BW) increased in sows fed high energy and high AA, but BW decreased during lactation. Birth weights of piglets increased with both high energy and AA diets. Sows fed high energy diets had shorter farrowing duration, higher concentrations of fat in colostrum, and higher glucose levels in plasma. Moreover, concentration of three amino acids increased, while albumin in plasma lowered. Sows fed high amino acids had an increase in plasma urea and the level of albumin. Several positive correlations were found between reproductive performance and blood parameters. 

BW gain during gestation is likely the result of elevated fat and muscle deposition in the period of late gestation. BW loss during lactation is likely due to the heavier piglet weights and faster growth, which requires more demand on the sow. Sows fed the high energy diet had an increase in litter weight and a shorter farrowing duration likely caused by more energy being allocated to farrowing. Sows fed high AA had higher growth rates of piglets during lactation. It is thought this could be due to piglet weights being initially higher or improved mammary development. Overall, this study showed some of the benefits increasing energy and AA could have on reproductive performance.

For the full article, visit the Journal of Animal Science.