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Dietary ractopamine supplementation during the first lactation affects milk composition, piglet growth and sow reproductive performance
- van Wettere, W.H.E.J., Pain, S.J., Hughes, P.E.
- Animal reproduction science 2016 v.174 pp. 87-92
- artificial insemination, body weight, dairy protein, estrus, gilts, lactation, milk composition, piglets, ractopamine, reproductive performance, sows, weaning, weight gain, weight loss
- Excessive mobilization of body reserves during lactation delays the return to reproductive function in weaned primiparous sows. This study tested the hypothesis that supplementing the lactation diets of first-parity sows with ractopamine hydrochloride would reduce maternal weight loss and improve subsequent reproductive performance. Gestating gilts were allocated to one of two treatment groups (n=30 sows/treatment), with one group fed a standard lactation diet (2.5g/Mcal LYS: DE) throughout lactation (CTRL), whereas the treatment group received the standard lactation diet supplemented with 10mg/kg ractopamine hydrochloride (RAC) from d 1 to 13 of lactation and 20mg/kg RAC from d 14 of lactation until artificial insemination (AI). Weaning occurred on d 21 of lactation, with AI occurring at the first post-weaning estrus. Compared to CTRL, RAC supplementation decreased (P<0.05) liveweight loss between d 13 and 20 of lactation (4.3±0.90 versus 1.3±0.96kg), and tended to increase (P=0.06) the number of second litter piglets born alive (9.5±0.52 versus 8.1±0.74). Treatment (RAC versus CTRL) reduced milk protein levels on d 13 and 20 of lactation (P<0.05), and piglet weight gain between d 13 and 20 of lactation (260±0.01 versus 310±0.01g/day, P<0.01). In conclusion, it is evident that dietary RAC altered milk composition and stimulated conservation of maternal body reserves during the third week of lactation, resulting in a beneficial effect on subsequent reproductive performance.