Influence of different phosphorus levels and phytase supplementation in gestation diets on sow performance
A total of 104 sows of different parities were studied. They were fed four diets with different phosphorus (P) levels during gestation for two reproductive cycles, while the same diet was fed during lactation. The aim was to decrease the total P level in the diet during gestation and to evaluate the effect on sow performance. The gestation treatments were low P (LP−; 3.7 g P/kg feed), low P with phytase (LP+, Ronozyme® P; 765 FTU/kg feed), medium P (MP; 4.5 g P/kg feed) and high P (HP; 6.0 g P/kg feed). Daily feed allowances were 2.6 kg during gestation and 9.2 kg during lactation. Number of born piglets and piglet mortality were higher (p < 0.05) in the LP treatments than in the MP and HP treatments. No difference (p > 0.05) in the numbers of live-born piglets, piglet birthweights, sow weights or piglet weight gains was found between the treatments. Phosphorus level in sow milk was the highest (p < 0.05) in the MP treatment, while no effects (p > 0.05) of treatment were found on milk Ca levels, P and Ca levels in serum of sows and piglets, nor on the analysed mineral, fat and protein contents of piglets. The estimated average requirement of P for the entire gestation period was 4.4–4.5 g/day. In conclusion, a reduction of dietary total P content during gestation did not result in negative effects on sow or piglet performance. This suggests that it should be possible to lower the dietary P content for gestating sows, compared with earlier recommendations, and thereby reduce the environmental P pollution.