Copper supplements can improve piglet performance, says Gavin Bowman, executive manager for Minerals Global Product Development, Novus International.
Speaking recently to the Banff Seminar for the pork industry, he said a review of scientific literature indicates that copper plays a role in the absorption and digestibility of nutrients, works as an antioxidant to reduce oxidative stress, acts as an antimicrobial agent to improve gut health and contributes to collagen development for tissue and gone health.
The research indicates that supplementing nursery pigs with an organic, chelated copper source (metal methionine hydroxy analogue copper chelate, or MMHAC Cu) improved daily gain by three per crnt and the feed conversion ratio by 2.6 per cent compared with inorganic copper sulphate.
Chelated copper also reduced diarrhea by 23 per cent in weaned pigs, improved digestibility levels of copper by 42 per cent, dry matter by eight per cent, crude protein by nine per cent, phosphorus by 14 per cent, energy by eight per cent and fat by 10 per cent compared with basal diet.
“Because organic chelated copper is better absorbed by animals than comparable inorganic trace mineral supplements, a producer can feed less mineral while still maintaining feed efficiency,” Bowman said.
“More efficient absorption of organic chelated trace minerals means less mineral is excreted by the animal.
“That’s not just better for the environment, it’s better for the producer’s bottom line,” he said.