Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris are looking into a project to improve piglet survival. Pork producers and industry professionals have expressed the need to decrease pre-weaning mortality rates in piglets. While feeding zinc supplementation during a sow’s gestation period has shown to influence pig performance after birth, the new research project at the U of M aims to determine the timing and duration of zinc that may influence “fetal imprinting” to optimize health and performance.
The project is considered unique in that it brings the cutting-edge concept of fetal imprinting to an applied implementation level for commercial sow farms, allowing producers to positively influence the lifetime performance of their pigs prior to birth. The project is being led by Lee Johnston, professor of swine nutrition at the U of M West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris.