Project: Research project

Project Details


A primary factor affecting profitability of swine production is sow productivity, and optimum nutrition of the sow is essential to maximize sow productivity. An ideal nutrition program should provide adequate nutrients to maximize sow productivity while minimizing excreted nutrients and feed costs. The continuing trends to earlier weaning, confinement housing, and intensive production schedules place biological demands on the sow that make high performance difficult to obtain and maintain. An increase in the number of pigs marketed per sow per year, through improved sow nutrition, would result in increased profitability by allocating the fixed sow costs over more pigs.The primary goal of this proposed project is to improve the reproductive performance of sows while increasing their retention in the herd and minimizing their nutrient excretion. This research will include studies to evaluate mineral requirements as well as essential oils as a feed additive to determine the effects on reproductive efficiency and to improve the economic return to swine producers. We plan to feed sows to examine the effects of copper on reproductive performance, especially during periods of heat stress. Seasonal infertility is a major issue in the swine industry in the Southern region. We also plan to examine the reproductive responses of sows fed organic trace minerals vs inorganic trace minerals; a direct suggestion from the industry. Differences in mineral availability are thought to affect reproductive performance and will decrease environmental impact of swine operations. We plan to evaluate the inclusion of essential oils as an alternative to antibiotics (another current societal issue for animal production) to determine the effect of this specialty product on sow and litter performance. There is no large scale research study on the use of this potential alternative to antibiotics in sow diets. As sow health and productivity is increased by success in any of these objectives there is potential improvement in enterprise profitability. The results also will demonstrate responsiveness to societally-important issues of waste management and the environment as well as concerns about antibiotic use in animal production.

Effective start/end date7/1/109/30/18


  • National Science Foundation: $15,318.00


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