Energy boost for sows and piglets

Lysolecithins are known to maximise fat digestion and enhance nutrient absorption. A recent trial revealed that sows were better able to maintain their body condition when fed an energy booster including lysolecithins. As a result, the number of stillborn piglets was reduced and sows showed better fertility.

Large numbers of high-quality piglets produced in a sustainable way – that is the most important goal of modern pig farms. In practice, however, sow farmers face various challenges, like severe body condition loss during lactation with all its consequences. The negative energy balance, which often already occurs before parturition, has a negative effect on the number of stillborn piglets and litter growth. In addition, a negative energy balance suppresses follicle development and reduces levels of important reproductive hormones, resulting in a prolonged weaning-to-oestrus interval, lower ovulation rates and higher embryonic mortality. Consequently, the uniformity and quality of the next litter will be impaired.

Improving daily nutrient intake

To prevent body condition loss and muscle breakdown, modern sows require more nutrients to fuel the increase in productivity. There are two ways to improve daily nutrient intake: either by simply increasing feed intake or by increasing the nutrient density of the diet. As the sow’s feed intake capacity often does not fulfil the high nutrient requirement for milk production, increasing nutrient density could help to reduce the gap between requirement and nutrient intake. To maximise the nutrient availability and usage of high-density diets, lysolecithins could be added to improve fat digestion and nutrient absorption, thereby acting like an energy booster. To demonstrate the beneficial effect of lysolecithins on sow performance and piglet growth during lactation, a trial was carried out at Livestock Feed Tests Denmark, a commercial farm with research facilities in Germany and Denmark. When entering the farrowing crate at about seven days before farrowing, sows (Danbred x Pietrain) received a standard lactation feed, which contained 2.5% soybean oil and a crude fat content of 5.4%. In the treatment group 1,000 grammes of FRA LeciMax Dry (lysolecithins) per tonne of feed was added to the lactation feed. Piglets were weaned at approximately 26 days.

Sows fed the energy booster with lysolecithins in their lactation diet lost less backfat during confinement and had a lower reduction in body condition score, which resulted in a lower number of stillbirths and a reduction of the weaning-to-oestrus interval. In addition, colostrum and milk quality were better, resulting in a higher number and heavier weaned piglets. With a calculated return on investment of 21.7, it is not only beneficial for sow and piglet performance but also very interesting from an economical point of view.

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