The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of supplementation of soybean meal during gestation on piglet quality. Females were reared at the NCDA Tidewater Research Station (Plymouth, NC). Genetics consisted of composite PIC Landrace × Large White females mated to Duroc males.
During gestation, a cohort of second parity sows (n=74) were fed daily 2.1 kg of a diet formulated to contain 0.58% SID lysine, 2979 kcal ME per kg and other nutrients to meet or exceed NRC (2012) requirements. At breeding, sows were randomly allocated by weight to receive either 139 g of soybean meal (SBM) daily or no supplementation (CON) until farrowing. Soybean meal was added as a top-dress to the sow’s feed drop box. Sows were housed in individual gestation stalls with ad libitum access to water and natural ventilation. Sow body condition was measured at the last rib with the sow body condition caliper at breeding and at farrowing. Piglets were individually identified and weighed within 1 d of birth and at 25 d of age. Traits included total number born, litter birth weight (LBW), average piglet birth weight (BWT), litter birth weight CV (BWT_CV), litter size at weaning (LSW), 25 day litter weaning weight (LWW), average piglet weaning weight (WWT), litter weaning weight CV (WWT_CV) and piglet survival. Weaning traits were calculated as those of the biological dam.
Data was analyzed using PROC GLM in SAS with treatment as a fixed effect. Litter size was included as a covariate for all litter traits. No differences (P>0.05) were observed between SBM and CON for initial sow weight (181 vs. 179 kg) or sow caliper score at breeding (12.7 vs. 12.5, respectively). Sow caliper score at farrowing was similar (P>0.05) between SBM and CON (15.3 vs. 14.8, respectively). Total number of piglets born was not different (P=0.14) between SBM and CON sows (14.3 vs. 13.1, respectively). Supplementing SBM from breeding to farrowing did not impact (P>0.05) LBW (16.3 vs. 16.5 kg), BWT (1.23 vs. 1.25 kg), BWT_CV (17.4 vs. 17.2%), LSW (11.0 vs. 10.7), LWW (67.1 vs. 66.5 kg), WWT (6.19 vs. 6.35 kg), WWT_CV (15.7 vs. 16.0%) or piglet survival (81.2 vs. 79.4%, respectively) when compared to CON sows.
Results showed supplementing sows with soybean meal throughout gestation had no impact on lactation performance or piglet quality.