Reports from EuroTier 2022

What role can a revision of vitamin inclusion levels play in pig and broiler breeder production?

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/jmsilva
© GettyImages/jmsilva

Related tags Dsm Vitamins Metabolism broiler breeder grower to finisher

DSM’s recently updated vitamin supplementation guidance looks to ensure the tool reflects changes in the genetics and management of all farmed animals along with advancements in nutritional understanding.

The company carried out a literature review internally but also collaborated with industry and with experts such as Dr Edgar Oviedo from North Carolina State University on the revision of the Optimum Vitamin Nutrition (OVN) guidelines, which were last amended back in 2016.

A key learning from the company’s bibliographic review relates to feed supplementation with the vitamin B complex, José-María Hernández, global marketing manager, vitamins, DSM, told us when we caught up with him at EuroTier 2022 in Hanover.

“Each of the vitamins in that group shouldn’t be considered independently. Studies have shown that all the B vitamins really work in synergy.”   

Papers published in the US over the past few years support the idea of feeding the entire B vitamin set to fattening pigs although some swine producers have traditionally not followed such an approach, he said. 

“We know that, historically, for fattening pigs, there has been only limited information published on the benefits arising from the use of B vitamins. But there are studies showing that, under practical, farm conditions, with regular challenges, feed efficiency really improves when such pigs are fed all the B vitamins. The animal’s metabolism is going to work more efficiently.”

A University of Kentucky study​, released in 2017, showed dietary supplementation of niacin, riboflavin, folacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B12 enhanced growth performance and improved carcass characteristics of grower to finisher pigs.

Moreover, B vitamins are not that costly, so there will be a considerable ROI from following such a supplementation strategy, said Hernández, who added that DSM sees it as its mission to contribute to industry knowledge around this.

Maternal nutrition

DSM has also been placing more emphasis on the importance of vitamin D3 supplementation for sows and their progeny, with the spotlight on its bioactive metabolite 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3), branded as Hy-D.

Research to date, continued Hernández, has shown, for example, that adding 50 mcg/kg of 25OHD3 as Hy-D - corresponding to 2,000 IU vitamin D3 - in sow feed boosts the nutritional quality of colostrum for piglets, improving their vitality.

Comparing the 2022 DSM OVN guidelines for poultry to the 2016 version, there is about a 5–6% increase for most vitamins, primarily to reflect the reduced feed intake to reach target weights.

Broiler breeder production provides a huge opportunity for understanding the impact of amending vitamin supplementation levels in hen diets given the ongoing issues related to hatchability in the US and in other markets, said Hernández.

Broiler breeder hatchability has been declining in the US since 2012, with a more prominent reduction seen between 2017 and 2021, according to Agri Stats Inc.

Studies show breeder hens have higher vitamin requirements for optimum hatchability, with a particular emphasis on the benefits of vitamin A, D3 and vitamin E in that respect.

In general, by following the new OVN guidelines, producers of all farmed animal species under practical farm conditions, where a stressor is usually present, should see a tangible impact on health and therefore both efficiency and performance, said the DSM expert.

Transparent format

The OVN guidelines data is also presented as transparently as possibly this time out, he said.

Comparison can be drawn between the OVN 2016 recommended levels and the current ones, with the reference academic studies also included. “Where there aren’t published studies supporting the new feed supplementation recommendations, we refer to industry practice or breeding company data. All this information will be part of the different OVN books that DSM and 5M will publish in 2023. The Poultry OVN book will be the first one to be released. IPPE in Atlanta in January 2023 will serve as the launch platform,​” added Hernández.

Related news

Show more

Related products

A pioneer and leader in microbial fermentation

A pioneer and leader in microbial fermentation

Content provided by Lallemand Animal Nutrition | 05-Dec-2023 | Business Advice

For over 100 years we've been producing yeast and bacteria for a variety of markets, Lallemand has perfected the art of fermentation. As primary microorganism...

Follow us


View more