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Herentals, Belgium – Kemin assembled a panel of experts to address the key variables specifically affecting the profitability of sows and providing in-depth insights on the management of hyper prolific sows, metabolic utilization of energy, improved digestibility and overall sow health. This panel was assembled in order to improve profitability in sows.

Practical application

“It is imperative that we continue to call on the best swine industry experts and their cutting edge research to improve the nutrition and health of the animal to maximize production and profits,” said John Springate, president of animal nutrition and health division of Kemin.  “It is from these discussions we can share the practical application of the research and tools that support continual growth and refinement in the industry and for the producer.”

Nutrient balans

Dr. Gunner Sorensen, programme manager at the Pig Research Center, Danish Agriculture and Food Center, discussed the management of hyper prolific sows. His presentation revealed the secret on how to reach 35 pigs/sows/year. Sorensen covered aspects related to nutrient recommendations, gestation feed curves and body conditions, gastric health and lactation management. The feed composition and accurate nutrient balance is crucial to performance as it is related the whole nutritional spectrum of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. He also discussed the reduction of gastric ulcers in sows and stressed the use of some coarse grain feed. During gestation and upon lactation the sow needs to be monitored continuously for her body condition. Sorensen concluded that the race is not to reach the maximum possible level of live born piglets per year; the overall goal is to reach the most profitable piglet production.


Geert Janssens, Ghent University professor, covered the metabolic utilization of energy and sow requirements. During his lecture, Janssens discussed the importance of the ketone and citric acid cycle for delivering energy to the sow. General principles teach that burning fat delivers more energy than burning carbohydrate or protein. However, in order to burn fat in the citric acid cycle, oxaloacetate is needed which is only formed through burning glucose, amino acids or propionic acid because otherwise fatty acids are transformed into ketone bodies. Therefore, one can state that fat is burned in the fire of oxaloacetate. Burning palmitate through the citric acid cycle delivers 12% more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) or energy as combustion through the ketone cycle. The fibre choice in sow diets as source of propionic acid might therefore be an interesting route of further research, where the effect of the carbohydrate fraction on fermentation, transit time and water binding needs to be considered.

Feed conversion

Reiterating the importance on the economics related to swine production, Dr. Mauro Di Benedetto, senior technical service manager at Kemin, reminded the audience that approximately 70 percent of swine production costs are derived from feed prices so reducing feed conversion through improved digestibility or increased nutrient absorption has never been more important.

The most common ideology among swine producers is that production can be increased through the amount of live born weaned piglets. However, Dr. Di Benedetto explained that a 0.1 reduction in feed conversion results in the same profit as an additional two weaned piglets born per litter. This reduction in feed conversion can easily be obtained through the use of nutritional tools which help determine the proper ingredient values which improve nutrient absorption. During a live demonstration, Dr. Di Benedetto demonstrated the mode of action of the natural biosurfactant Lysoforte, supporting lipid digestion in the three phases of (1) improving emulsification, (2) facilitating the effect of lipase and (3) improving the absorption of both lipids and other nutrients.


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