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Supporting Sow Productivity and Progeny with Chelated Trace Minerals

piglets suckling

Sows are the engine for the swine industry. Not only do they provide the subsequent generation of replacement animals, but they consistently supply piglets for market hog production, thus, requiring special attention for their dietary needs. Unfortunately, some sows do not reach their full genetic potential because their mineral nutrition is inadequate.

Swine operations strive to keep sow replacement rates around 50% to maximize production profitability and genetic progress. Operating costs increase when sows are removed prematurely. Reproductive failure and locomotion challenges have the largest impact on removal rates, so producers focus their efforts on reducing feet and leg issues while supporting farrowing and pregnancy maintenance. Fortunately, sow productivity and structural integrity can be positively impacted by organic trace minerals.

More Piglets Per Sow Lifetime

have demonstrated enhanced reproductive performance and progeny development when sows are fed bis-chelated trace minerals including copper, manganese and zinc (in the form of MINTREX® Bis-Chelated Trace Minerals from NOVUS). Copper and zinc both help with the synthesis and strengthening of connective tissue and hoof keratin to support structural integrity while also supporting fertility and pregnancy performance.

A in 2021 found that sows fed bis-chelated trace minerals had three more piglets per lifetime and saw an increase in piglet birthweights—traits associated with improved sow longevity, reproductive efficiency and nutrient management. These qualities also translate to additional profitability for the producer.

Body Condition for Reproductive Performance

Properly managing body condition score is critical for optimal reproductive performance. A sow’s body condition may suffer during lactation. This can lead to sows with farrowing difficulties and increased wean-to-estrus interval — both of which can lead to removal. Including bis-chelated trace minerals in sow diets is shown to help minimize loss of body condition after lactation, resulting in more consistent reproductive performance and supporting sows staying in the herd longer.

Studies show sows fed bis-chelated trace minerals had an, 35% less culling, 43% less foot lesions, and 20% less reduction after lactation. have shown that feeding bis-chelated trace minerals to sows better equips them for gestation and lactation, reducing sow removal rates. reductions in removal rates as high as 35%.

The Right Mineral

Feeding any type of trace mineral won’t achieve these numbers. The minerals must be highly bioavailable, supporting absorption and use by the animal and trace minerals differ vastly in their bioavailability. Studies show bis-chelated trace minerals from NOVUS are more stable and less reactive to other components in the digestive tract, so the minerals are more likely to reach the absorption site to be used to their maximum efficiency. In addition, thanks to their high bioavailability, bis-chelated trace minerals are less likely to be excreted in manure, resulting in less environmental impact.

Affecting the Next Generation

The benefits of a powerful mineral can even be transmitted to the next generation. that progeny of sows fed bis-chelated trace minerals had better growth rates, an advantage that carries on throughout their lifetime. Also, studies show piglets from sows fed bis-chelated trace minerals reached their immune threshold 4-8 weeks earlier after vaccination and were five pounds heavier when leaving the nursery. Getting a strong start sets piglets up for optimum lifetime performance.

For more information about incorporating bis-chelated trace minerals into sow diets, chat with your Novus representative or contact us.

Alex Hintz
Alex Hintz, DVM

Dr. Hintz works with the North America Sales Team on initiatives that support veterinarians, nutritionists and producers to improve and optimize the health of their pigs. Since joining Novus, he has been instrumental in the company’s MINTREX® in Sows program, which is geared at maximizing lifetime sow productivity and profitability, as well as the Scale Up™ Program for nursery and growing pig performance via health through nutrition. Read more about Dr. Hintz...

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