Ninety-nine sows were used in this study to evaluate the effects of feeding 1% L-arginine during the final 3 wk of gestation on sow and litter performance. Sows were allotted to one of 2 dietary treatments, a control diet with no additional L-arginine (CON), or a diet providing an additional 25 g/d arginine (ARG), based on parity (0, 1, or 2+) and weight at the initiation of the study (d 93 gestation). From d 93 of gestation to farrowing, animals were provided 2.72 kg feed/d containing 0.63% SID Lysine in 2 equal meals. On d 110, animals were weighed and moved into farrowing. A common lactation diet was provided upon farrowing. Sows were additionally weighed 48 h post-farrowing and at weaning. Late gestational BW gain (d 93 to 110), farrowing (d 110 to 48 h post-farrowing) and lactation BW loss (d 110 to weaning) were calculated. Sow and litter performance data, including number born alive, number weaned, individual birth and weaning weights, and placenta weight, were recorded. Plasma samples were collected on d 93 and 110 and IGF-1, insulin, and BUN levels analyzed.
There was a tendency for a greater late gestation BW gain (P = 0.06) in ARG compared with CON (14.4 and 12.0 kg, respectively). Additionally, a tendency for a parity by treatment interaction was observed for late gestation BW gain with parity 1 ARG gaining the most, and parity 0 ARG intermediate to all other treatments (P = 0.1). There were no differences between treatment groups observed in farrowing or lactation BW loss, number born alive, number weaned, birth weight, weaning weight, or placenta weight (P > 0.05). Additionally, there were no differences between CON and ARG gilts and sows for plasma IGF-1, insulin, or BUN concentration at d 93 or 110 of gestation (P > 0.05).
In conclusion, late gestational supplementation with L-arginine may be beneficial to sow BW gain, independent of litter and placental weight, but had no effect on litter size or lactation performance.
BE Bass, CL Bradley, ZB Johnson, CV Maxwell1, RD Boyd, JL Usry, JW Frank. Influence of dietary L-arginine supplementation to sows during late gestation on sow and litter performance during lactation. 2011. Journal of Animal Science, 89, E-Suppl. 2, page 64.