Optimizing Sow Diets with Chromium

The biggest driver of success in the breeding herd is to hit weekly breeding targets. Assuming consistent semen quality and farrowing rates, meeting the breeding targets each week will allow farms to wean a relatively consistent number of piglets to flow through the wean to finish portion of production. Deviations in management, nutrition, herd health, feed intake or weaning age can impact overall herd productivity significantly. 

Feed intake and energy utilization are key elements of maintaining sow body condition and producing milk for adequate piglet growth rates and desired weaning weights. Modern sows are now achieving larger litter sizes and thus, reduced piglet birth weights. Vigorous pigs at birth, large quantities of colostrum and a natural mothering ability can help reduce preweaning mortality. Some large systems are utilizing 24-hour farrowing room care to maximize preweaning survivability. 

A 10-year comparison for PigCHAMP® Data is listed below in Table 1. Data from 2007 compared to 2017 shows some progress in breeding herd productivity, but also exposes areas that are not making progress. Sow mortality is a key area of concern for most modern production systems.  

Table 1. Ten-year PigCHAMP breeding herd performance comparison

Variable

Mean 2017

Upper 10%

Lower 10%

Mean 2007

Upper 10%

Lower 10%

Percent Repeat Services

6.77%

12.03%

2.06%

12.12%

20.70%

4.90%

Total Pigs Born/Litter

13.95

15.20

12.65

12.34

13.25

11.30

Pigs Born Alive/Litter

12.58

13.63

11.55

11.06

11.88

10.10

Stillborn/Litter

1.01

1.45

0.61

0.95

1.30

0.60

Mummies/Litter

0.36

0.64

0.09

0.24

0.40

0.04

Farrowing Rate

82.51%

90.79%

73.49%

79.06%

87.80%

68.60%

Preweaning Mortality, %

15.37%

21.22%

9.28%

12.26%

16.60%

8.14%

Age at Weaning

20.54

22.35

18.64

19.26

20.90

17.30

Litter Weaning Weight, lb

148.32

166.29

113.47

114.67

146.85

84.45

Pigs Weaned/Litter

11.03

11.90

10.13

9.60

10.40

8.70

Pigs/Mated Femal/Year

24.12

28.35

19.40

22.16

25.50

18.95

Pigs/Inventoried Female/Year

23.05

27.45

18.68

20.89

24.10

17.76

Female Mortality Rate, %

10.00%

14.51%

5.93%

8.74%

12.50%

4.80%

Culling Rate, %

44.51%

63.40%

26.80%

48.65%

66.10%

32.10%

Total Sows

1,960

4,661

454

1,318

2,792

338

Total Farms

419

 

 

371

 

 

KemTRACE® Chromium – the first product of its kind on the market – is a water soluble, highly bioavailable, organic source of chromium that helps improve glucose utilization and reduce the negative impacts of stress for increased cellular energy and function. This results in improved maintenance, reproduction, growth and immunity in swine. KemTRACE Chromium has been fed to millions of animals around the globe since its introduction in 2000. It is registered in more than 35 countries worldwide and is the only U.S. Food and Drug Administration-reviewed form of chromium propionate.

Use of KemTRACE Chromium in the breeding herd can improve consistency of sow productivity. These key areas of improvement can help drive sow herd output and increase the consistency of meeting weekly production targets. 

A performance increase in any of these seven areas would be more than enough to garner a return on investment for KemTRACE Chromium. With improvements in two or more of these areas, you could expect a 10:1 return on the investment for this feed additive.

  1. Feed intake in lactation: maintenance of body condition and subsequent improved rebreeding performance.
  2. Heavier pigs at birth: heavier pigs at birth can result in improved piglet survivability during the first few days post-partum. 
  3. Litter size: total born and born alive were consistently improved with supplementation. A combination of improved litter size and heavier pigs at birth can result in more pigs weaned per litter and more pigs weaned per inventoried sow per year.
  4. Reduced Parity 2 dip in productivity: improved feed intake in Parity 1 lactation can improve Parity 2 productivity and lifetime sow achievement.
  5. Energy utilization: improved energy utilization during gestation and lactation. Improved glucose utilization at the cellular level is one of the key benefits of chromium use in sows.
  6. Heavier pigs at weaning: with improved energy utilization for milk yield in lactating sows results in improved growth rates during the lactation period.
  7. Reduction of non-productive sow days: improved body condition and rebreeding performance results in a reduction in days where sows are not lactating or pregnant.

 

PigCHAMP® is a registered trademark of Regents of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

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