Farmscape for May 4, 2021
By stimulating the mammary development scientists are increasing sow milk production and improving the growth rates of piglets.
As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc scientists are looking at novel feeding strategies to increase the milk yields of replacement gilts and lactating sows to improve the growth and weaning weights of suckling pig.
Dr. Chantal Farmer, a Research Scientist in Sow Lactation Biology with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Sherbrooke, explains we know the number of milk synthesizing cells present in mammary tissue at the beginning of gestation will impact the amount of milk produced so she has been focussing on stimulating mammary development.
Clip-Dr. Chantal Farmer-Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada:
The more milk synthesizing cells that are present, the greater the amount of milk that could optimally be produced so nutrition is actually one way to look at it and another one is their hormonal environment so in one project I'm looking at nutrition in late gestation.
Why late gestation?
Because during the gestation period mammary development takes place from 90 days of gestation until farrowing and it's only during the periods where we do have mammary development that we can do anything to enhance it.
There needs to be some development to stimulate it further.
If there's no development, if you try to work with any treatment in early gestation, it will not affect mammary development because there is none.
So, in my first study I was looking at the effect of lysine, which is an amino acid, from day 90 of gestation up to parturition, to stimulate mammary development.
Another project is looking at the hormonal status of the sow during the lactation period and to see how this can stimulate mammary development and milk yield of the sow.
So, there are the two aspects, nutrition in early gestation and the hormonal status of the lactating sow.
Dr. Farmer says the lysine research is now complete and scientists are now beginning to analyse the data and the hormonal study is just getting underway and should be complete in about a year.
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