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Evaluating the Impact of Essential Fatty Acids in Lactation Diets on Sow and Litter Performance

Holen, J., J. Woodworth, M. Tokach, R. Goodband, J. DeRouchey, J. Gebhardt, A. DeDecker and X. Martinez

Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of supplemental fat sources providing low and high essential fatty acids (EFA) in lactation diets on sow reproductive performance, piglet growth and survivability, and colostrum and milk composition. In Exp. 1, mixed parity sows (n=91) were allotted to 5 experimental treatments arranged in a 2×2+1 factorial. Treatments were corn-soybean meal-based diets that contained no added fat or diets with 3% added fat as either beef tallow or soybean oil starting on d 107 or 112 of gestation. Sows were provided low EFA (linoleic acid [LA] and α-linolenic acid [ALA]) in diets without supplemental fat or with beef tallow or high EFA with soybean oil. Results confirmed that providing fat sources with high EFA can increase colostrum and milk LA and ALA content, regardless of pre-farrow time of diet consumption. However, supplemental fat did not influence litter growth performance (P>0.05). In Exp. 2, mixed parity sows (n=3,451) were assigned to 4 corn-soybean meal-wheat-based lactation diets with 0.5 (Control) or 3% choice white grease (CWG), 3% soybean oil (SO), or a combination of 3% soybean oil and 2% choice white grease (Combination) at d 112 of gestation to provide diets with low or high EFA. Lactation ADFI increased (P<0.05) for sows fed the Combination and CWG diets compared to sows fed the Control or SO diet. Sows fed Combination and SO diets had greater (P<0.05) LA and ALA intake, LA and ALA in colostrum and milk, litter weaning weights, and litter ADG than sows fed 0.5 or 3% CWG. Sow EFA intake did not affect (P>0.10) piglet survivability or subsequent sow reproductive performance.

In conclusion, increased LA and ALA intake provided by SO during lactation increased overall litter growth and weaning weights but did not affect piglet survivability or subsequent performance.