Now is the time to maximize the summer returns that can be robbed by stress – including heat. The pigs you have placed today are the same pigs that will experience the hot summer temperatures prior to market in July and August. Did you know that heat stress leads to $2.50 in weight gain loss conservatively, and possibly more based on market conditions?
Heat is one of the potential factors contributing to the total stress load a pig experiences. What else is causing stress in your production system? Stocking density, hierarchy, temperature changes, ventilation, disease, vaccinations, feed changes, rapid growth and handling are just some of the stressors affecting pigs in all phases of production. During times of stress, nutrients are re-allocated among tissues to alleviate the stress2 – nutrients that would otherwise go to growth. Chromium supplementation can result in reduced cortisol, which decreases the negative impact of stress events and helps pigs reach their full genetic potential.3
Additionally, chromium helps to potentiate insulin response, allowing pigs to more efficiently use glucose in their individual hierarchy of needs. This is particularly important when feed intake is compromised during periods of stress, extreme temperatures or immune challenges. A recent peer-reviewed trial demonstrated differences in final body weight between control and chromium supplemented diets of thermoneutral and chronically heat stressed pigs.1 A summary of this trial can be found here. The difference in performance between the control and the chromium supplemented diets of thermoneutral and chronically heat stressed pigs are displayed below.