Protein and non-protein methionine requirements for first parity gestating sows
Project 18-02 - Dr. Lee-Anne Huber
Dr. Lee-Anne Huber, University of Guelph
Quantifying and meeting nutrient requirements is an important contributor to improved sow longevity. To fully realize the economic, nutritional, and environmental benefits of precision feeding, we must accurately quantify the nutrient requirements of sows (and their litter) during each phase of gestation and lactation. The NRC (2012) based estimated amino acid requirements for gestating and lactating sows from very few empirical studies (except for lysine), and the factorial estimates were based solely on the retention of each amino acid in maternal, fetal, and milk proteins. These estimates do not take into account the metabolism of the modern sow (many studies are over 50 years old) or the ‘non-protein’ roles of amino acids, which can use up a significant proportion of the amino acid in both the mother and the fetus. Methionine is one such essential amino acid that has over 50 non-protein roles in the body. It is important for energy storage, programming of piglet metabolism, and healthy hoof development and maintenance for both mother and offspring. By quantifying and adequately meeting both the protein and ‘non-protein’ methionine requirements for gestating and lactating sows, we may be able to improve piglet survivability, metabolism, and growth performance, as well as the longevity, reproductive success, hoof health, and herd retention of reproductive females. This project addresses the Ontario Pork research priority of production and encompasses components of nutrition and herd health (i.e. longevity of reproductive sows).