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Feeding chelated trace minerals to sows offers choice of when to cull When a sow’s nutritional needs are met, it improves her performance in many ways, which can reduce the likelihood of having to cull her before she meets peak productivity.


by Cassio Villela, Sr. Marketing Specialist, Global Swine, Novus International, Inc.

ow often do you cull sows you wish could stay in production longer? Nutrition can play a critical role in when and why you cull a sow. Studies show that feeding sows MINTREX® chelated trace minerals can help put you back in charge of the culling decision. “In North America, the average annual replacement rate for sows is approximately 49 percent. In the United States, the main reasons given for culling were failure to conceive, poor performance, lameness, locomotion, death and age,” said Dr. Yulin Ma, Technical Services Manager at Novus International Inc. “Reports indicated that average sow parity at culling was 3.3 with a total of 36 pigs produced. In total, 55 percent of the sows culled for locomotion issues or lameness were removed prior to parity 2”.

Value of sow longevity

High sow replacement rates can harm the operation in many ways. For most sows, peak productivity arrives at parity, therefore maintaining sows in the herd beyond parity 3 could allow producers to maximize productivity and profitability. In addition, “Replacement gilts are costly and can have a significant impact on a producer’s bottom line,” said Dr. Ma. “Gilts are tougher to breed, offer lower performance in terms of piglets born and require more labor to manage and feed.” Healthy sows produce more, healthier piglets, which results in a lower weaned pig cost, he said. So, maintaining high performance sows in their best production for longer periods of time has a lot to offer in performance and profitability. “The use of a chelated trace mineral source, such as Metal 72 | March 2016 - Milling and Grain

Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate (MMHAC), in swine operations can improve sow health, performance and locomotion, resulting in improved sow longevity, fewer culls and increased lifetime production compared to other mineral sources” Dr. Ma said.

How chelates work

Nutritionists understand the value of organic sources of trace minerals and include them in swine rations. In this article, the organic source of focus is HMTBa chelated trace minerals, also defined by AAFCO as MMHAC. Trace mineral supplements can perform differently in the animal’s digestive tract. For example, when inorganic sources of copper are used, much of the mineral is often excreted and lost in feces due to antagonisms with other minerals and negative interactions with other diet components in the digestive tract, which inhibits the mineral absorption in the gut. That loss impairs metabolic systems, which will limit the performance potential of

Mar 2016 - Milling and Grain magazine  
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