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Taking Sow Performance Beyond Parity Three with Trace Minerals

piglet and sow

Swine producers tend to focus on pigs weaned per litter. However, sow longevity and maintaining high levels of sow productivity into older parities is vital for reducing weaned pig cost and optimizing revenue per sow lifetime. Additionally, optimizing sow lifetime productivity reduces the demand for gilt introductions and the number of gilt litter offspring in each weaning group, which often have lower growth performance and survival than pigs born to older parity sows. Producers focused on sow retention understand that sows are often removed from the breeding herd due to reproductive failure or locomotion problems. Fortunately, both these challenges can be positively impacted through intelligent nutrition with trace minerals.

When it comes to trace minerals in swine diets, the source matters. “Organic trace mineral” is a general term used to describe minerals bound to something containing carbon. Minerals supplied in the inorganic form are bound to sulfates, oxides, chlorides, etc. While organic trace minerals are known for better performance over inorganic minerals, not all organic trace minerals are the same.

Mineral chelate of hydroxy analogue of methionine (MINTREX® Bis-Chelated Trace Minerals) is a unique organic trace mineral source shown to positively impact sow lifetime productivity. Studies show these bis-chelated trace minerals can add to litter size at weaning, pigs per sow lifetime and reduce the risk of low-birthweight pigs as a result of heavier piglets at birth. The result is more pork produced per sow lifetime.

Research has shown sows fed bis-chelated trace minerals as MINTREX® Trace Minerals have improved farrowing rates, greater retention to parity three, more pigs weaned per litter and per sow lifetime1 compared to sows fed inorganic sources of trace minerals as well as some other sources of organic trace minerals. The combined results of these benefits on sow productivity can result in more than three additional weaned pigs per sow lifetime2.

Offspring from sows fed bis-chelated trace minerals (vs inorganic trace minerals) have seen: fewer low birthweight pigs, reduced pre-weaning mortality, and improved growth rate and survival from weaning to market3. Studies show the net benefit of improved sow productivity and the benefits of mineral source on the offspring can be between 5% and 6% more pork produced per sow lifetime4,5 with tremendous economic return potential to the swine producer.

Trials using bis-chelated trace mineral nutrition show swine producers can see pounds of pork produced per sow at economic returns often approaching 18:12.

Speak to a NOVUS representative today to learn more about supporting sow longevity through trace mineral nutrition.



  1. Zhao, L. Greiner, G. Alle, M. Vazquez-Anon, C.D. Knight, R.J. Harrell. Improved retention rates and reduced culling for lameness for sows fed a chelated trace mineral blend. J. Anim. Sci. Vol. 89, E-Suppl. 1/J. Dairy Sci. Vol. 94, E-Suppl.
  2. Zhao et al., 2012; Barea et al., 2019; Lawrence et al., 2021; NOVUS internal trial FB2018-0061, 2021
  3. Hintz, A. Massiot, V. Begos, J.C. Besnard, A. Drouet, M. David, R. Barea. Mineral methionine hydroxy analog chelate as the sow trace mineral source impacts pre-wean mortality and piglet quality. 2023 Allen D. Leman Swine Conference Research Abstracts. Poster No. 31
  4. V. Lawrence, PhD; A. Hintz, DVM. Two-Year Evaluation Of Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelated Zinc, Copper and Manganese Supplementation in Sows as a Substitution for an Equal Portion of Mineral in the Sulfate Form. Novus Internal Trial FV2018-0061, 2021
  5. V. Lawrence, PhD; A. Hintz, DVM; B. Buresh, PhD; W. Mills; M. Ritter, PhD; C. Pilcher, PhD; M. Warsco. (2021). One-year commercial demonstration of methionine hydroxy analogue chelated zinc, copper, and manganese (MINTREX® trace minerals) on sow productivity and longevity. AASV Annual Meeting Proceedings (2021)
Brad Lawrence
Bradley V. Lawrence, Ph.D. 

Dr. Lawrence has spent over two decades working directly with pig producers in the U.S. and Canada, helping them meet their economic goals by supporting the health and growth of sows, piglets, and grow/finishers. At NOVUS he collaborates with the R&D and Sales teams to develop solutions for customer challenges and conduct trials to analyze and assess the practical impacts to pork producers.   Read more about Dr. Lawrence...

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