Full fat soybean meal
Amino acids, minerals, vitamins
Available phosphorus (%)
Results and Discussion
The phytogenic formula used in the present study is based on a defined blend of essential oils and fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Specific essential oils have the potential to increase palatability of diets, thus stimulating voluntary feed consumption in pigs (Steiner, 2006a). Addition of phytogenics to the diets increased feed intake in the lactation period (7.070 vs. 7.238 kg for the control and trial group, respectively).
Moreover, according to Kroismayr (2007), specific essential oils exert a stabilizing effect on the gut microflora of pigs, thus increasing nutrient uptake and reducing the production of toxic metabolites in the hindgut. In a study with piglets, supplementation of control diets with Biomin® P.E.P. reduced the levels of biogenic amines and ammonia, as well as the contents of volatile fatty acids, in the caecum and colon. Additionally, the size of Peyer’s Patches was smaller in pigs fed phytogenics, indicating less digestive stress.
It is generally accepted that a higher feed intake in lactation together with improved digestion results in an increased supply of nutrients and energy for the piglets in the milk. As illustrated in Figure 1, inclusion of phytogenics in diets of sows positively affected piglet performance as well. Compared to the control group, phytogenics improved growth performance of piglets, resulting in higher weaning weights by 6%. Table 2 summarizes some of the performance parameters as influenced by supplementation of the diets with phytogenics.
Figure 1. Effect of phytogenics on weaning weight and daily weight gain of piglets
Table 2. Effect of phytogenics on sow performance
Piglets born alive per litter
Body weight of piglets at birth (kg)
Litter weight at birth (kg)
Piglets weaned per litter
Litter weight at weaning (kg)
The results obtained in the present study are in general agreement with previous trials conducted in France (Steiner, 2006b) and the North America (Miller et al., 2003).
Profitability of piglet production largely depends on feed intake of sows as well as on the resulting performance of the litter. Although the overall feed costs (including cost of the additive) were higher by 16% in the trial group, the improvement in performance in this group generated additional earnings, which finally resulted in an additional annual profit amounting to 21 USD per sow. It is noteworthy that this calculation only takes into account the benefits over feed costs and does not consider shorter average wean-to-first-service interval or reduced incidence of health problems. These factors are considered to further contribute to profitability in piglet production.
As shown in the present study with sows, well-selected phytogenic compounds represent a Natural Growth Promoter in piglet production. Supplementation of sow diets increases body piglet weaning weights and improves profitability in sow production operations.
The authors would like to thank Dr. Esteban Gigoux (swine consultant, Chile) for supervising the trial, and Cristian Dasso and Alexi Videla (Centrovet, Santiago, Chile) for support of this study. References are available from the author upon request.
Authors: Maurice RACOUSIER1, Tobias STEINER2
1 Universidad Mayor, Santiago, Chile
2 BIOMIN GmbH, Herzogenburg, Austria