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Heat stress in sow: benefits of antioxidant blends

Heat stress in sow: benefits of antioxidant blends

High summer temperatures increase the chance that sow herds will be exposed to heat stress. Heat stress in sows causes a longer weaning-to-estrus interval, decreased farrowing rates and failure to maintain pregnancy. Conception rates of sows are also lower in the summer. When sows are bred in the summer, they farrow smaller litters, and the average piglet weaning weight is significantly smaller than other seasons. Supplementing sow diets with antioxidants is crucial during the hot season, as proven by recent data.

Weaning to oestrus

A specific fertility program containing vegetal superoxide dismutase (SOD) and selenium yeast as primary cellular antioxidants can help balance the negative impact of heat stress on the reproductive performance of sows, by reinforcing the antioxidant status of the animals. First and foremost, the application that shows the biggest impact on several parameters is the weaning-to-estrus interval. Embryo development requires high antioxidant supplementation to protect the fetus’ growth and allow for good implantation in the uterine wall. Supplementing the sow with a high-quality antioxidant blend from after weaning until insemination will help improve the fecundation and nidation process, ensuring good embryo viability and subsequent piglet quality.

heat stress in sows

Figure 1. Field trial conducted in Germany with antioxidant blend containing selenium yeast and vegetal SOD for 5 days before weaning to insemination (n = 429 sows ; *p < 0.01).

New data under heat stress

antioxidant blend under heat stress sowsA study performed in a commercial farm (Barbé et al. 2019) demonstrated a positive effect of the Lallemand antioxidant blend on all the important parameters that are usually negatively impacted during summer, such as farrowing rate, return to estrus and rate of born alive piglets. ALKOSEL + MELOFEED group. The reduced mean percentage of stillborn piglets showed the biggest effect in sows between parities 3 and 6, corresponding to the highest reproductive performance in the sows’ life cycle.

During heat stress, the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) could overwhelm the animal’s own antioxidant capacity and lead to an imbalanced oxidative status. Supplying sows with a specific antioxidative solution will help rebalance the oxidative status and reduce the impact of ROS on the organism. This specific blend was formulated to optimize the antioxidant defense in sows around insemination and is a promising concept to support reproductive performance, especially during the summer season.

Published Aug 27, 2019 | Updated May 29, 2023