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New Research Expected to Change Diet Formulations for Gestating Sows

Research conducted by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is expected to change the manner in which diets are formulated for gestating sows.

Research conducted by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc has shown that increasing the levels of lysine in the diets of sows from 90 days of gestation until farrowing will dramatically increase the production of milk synthesising tissue in the udder, boosting milk yields during lactation.

Dr. Chantal Farmer, a Research Scientist in Sow Lactation Biology with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Sherbrooke, says we now know that there is a relationship between the number of milk synthesising cells present in the udder at the onset of lactation and the amount of milk produced.

Clip-Dr. Chantal Farmer-Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada:

It's quite important because, right now, we're feeding our gestating animals with the same diet all the way through gestation but obviously the needs of the animal are not similar in early gestation when you have no mammary development, no fetal development compared to late gestation where you have very important mammary development also very important fetal development.

So, what this study is saying is you should not feed the animal in a similar fashion between days zero and 90 of gestation and between days 90 of gestation to farrowing.

At the end of gestation, we should have a diet that contains more lysine so this is very important because it will change the way of feeding our animals so this is something that, in fact, is the future.

We need to find a way to give a different diet to these animals in late gestation where mammary development is increased.

Dr. Farmer notes a 40 percent increase in lysine during that critical period of mammary development resulted in a 44 percent increase in the amount of milk synthesising tissue in the udder, a one-to-one ratio, but the composition of that tissue did not change, resulting in greater milk yield during the following lactation.

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