26 February 1999

Forgotten minerals

USING organic minerals which are easily digested and mobilised could prevent falls in body reserves, according to new research.

Independent consultant William Close, presenting a round-up of organic mineral trials from around the world said feed manufacturers have gone to great lengths to update protein and energy needs according to stage in production cycle, but overlooked minerals.

Lactating sows provided a prime example of why in-feed mineral levels need to be adjusted according to stage of lactation. Sows with higher piglet weaning weights have been found to mobilise large amounts of skeletal calcium to satisfy demand from milk production meaning greater mineral supplementation is essential.

Other minerals and trace elements were equally important, he said. Trials at Belfast University showed organic iron could boost feed intakes in piglets and weaning weights while cutting mortality by 1.5%.

Selenium and chromium were two up-and-coming trace elements of which pig producers should be aware, advised Dr Close. Selenium can boost sperm production while chromium boosts growth rate. &#42