Researchers Examine Role of Lysine in Increasing Sow Milk Production

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Farmscape for July 16, 2021

Full Interview 15:48 Listen

Researchers with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are exploring the potential role of lysine in stimulating mammary development of the sow thus enhancing her ability to produce milk. Over the past 25 years there has been an increase in sow milk yields but, because of the increase in litter size, even though the sows have produced more milk, each piglet was ingesting less milk. Dr. Chantal Farmer, a Research Scientist in Sow Lactation Biology with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Sherbrooke, says we need to make sure that we can stimulate the amount of milk produced by the sows to make sure our piglets have adequate or optimal growth rates and it appears protein, specifically lysine plays a key role.

Clip-Dr. Chantal FarmerAgriculture and Agri-Food Canada:
Lysine is an essential ammino acid so it’s really required by the sow. What’s very interesting is that, if you look at their requirement of energy in gestation it’s pretty constant where as if you look at the amount of protein, lysine is an amino acid so it’s a protein, so when you look at the amount of protein required, those requirements increase very drastically in gestation. So, lysine requirements increase in gestation and one of the reasons is because of the mammary development. So, if you look at before and after day 70 of gestation, yes there is a significant increase in lysine requirement and if you look at specifically mammary growth it accounts for 16.8 or 70 percent of the SID lysine requirement in the last 12 days of gestation. What I’m saying is lysine is important for mammary development but we do not know how much is needed and if increasing the amount of lysine will in fact stimulate mammary development.

Dr. Farmer says sometime in the fall she hopes to be able to say whether increasing lysine in late gestation does stimulate mammary development.

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