Increased Lysine in Sow Diets Stimulates Mammary Development Increasing Milk Production

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Farmscape for November 8, 2022

Full Interview 12:43 Listen

Research conducted by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada shows increasing the levels of lysine in the diets of sows during late gestation will dramatically increase the production of milk synthesising tissue in the udder boosting milk yields during lactation. As part of research being conducted in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc, scientists examined the value of increasing the content of lysine in the diets of sows from 90 days of gestation to farrowing in hopes of stimulating mammary development and thereby increasing milk production.
Dr. Chantal Farmer, a Research Scientist in Sow Lactation Biology with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Sherbrooke, says by adding soybean to the ration the lysine content of the diet was increased by 40 percent.

Clip-Dr. Chantal Farmer-Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada:
By increasing lysine by 40 percent using soybean in that crucial period, when we looked at mammary tissues on day 110 of gestation, there was a 44 percent increase in the amount of parenchymal tissue obtained. It’s really amazing. It’s a one-to-one ratio, a 40 percent increase in lysine, 44 percent increase in the amount of parenchymal tissue, the good mammary tissue where you do see milk synthesis taking place.
The composition of that tissue did not change but the total amount of this tissue was significantly increased. This really is something very important, leading us to say that increasing lysine intake by 40 precent through the addition of soybean meal in the diet at the end of gestation will have a great impact to stimulate mammary development. This should be related to a greater milk yield in the following lactation.

Dr. Farmer acknowledges more work is needed to determine the factors behind the increase in mammary development and to determine whether the effect is the same among different parity sows.

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