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Improving Dietary Amino Acid Balance Reduces Heat Production in Lactating Sows Exposed to Heat Stress


We hypothesized that lactating sows fed a reduced CP (RCP) diet with supplemental AA to improve AA balance produce less metabolic heat (HP) compared with feeding a conventional diet (control). The objective was to measure HP of sows (n = 24) fed control (19.6% CP) or RCP (14.2% CP) under thermoneutral (TN, 21±1.5°C) or cycling heat stress (HS, 32±1.5°C daytime and 24±1.5°C nighttime).

Diets contained 0.90% SID Lys and 2,580 kcal/kg. Positive pressure indirect calorimeters were used to measure gas exchange in individual sows with litters (sow + litter), and individual piglets on lactation d 4, 8, 14 and 18, and HP determined overnight (1900–0700) and during daytime (0700–1900). Sow and litter weights were recorded on d 1, 10 and 21. Sow HP was calculated by subtracting litter HP from sow + litter HP based on BW0.75. Model included the fixed effect of diet, random effects of block and sow, sow feed intake as a regression variable and day as the repeated measurement. Compared to control, HP (kcal/h·kg0.75) of RCP was lower (P < 0.01) overnight (5.25 vs. 5.96 ± 0.38), during daytime (6.33 vs. 6.94 ± 0.23), and over 24-h (5.78 vs. 6.46 ± 0.24) under HS. Under TN, HP of RCP tended to differ (P = 0.107) overnight (5.20 vs. 5.90 ±0.57) and over 24-h (5.93 vs. 6.48 ± 0.50) and did not differ (P = 0.190) during daytime (6.66 vs. 7.06±0.52). Under HS, lactation day affected HP (P < 0.05) overnight and over 24-h, with HP increasing from d 1 to 14 and decreasing from d 14 to 18. Under TN, day of lactation did not affect sow HP.

Feeding RCP diet to lactating sows decreased HP, and this effect was more pronounced in sows housed under HS.