An assessment of dietary folic acid levels during gestation and lactation on reproductive and lactational performance of sows: a cooperative study. S-145 Committee on Nutritional Systems for Swine to Increase Reproductive Efficiency.

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Crossbred female swine (n = 393) were used in a multiparity study at five experiment stations to evaluate the effects of dietary supplementation of folic acid (FA) on serum folates status and reproductive performance. The dietary treatments were a corn-soybean meal basal diet (calculated FA, .34 ppm) supplemented with 0, 1, 2, or 4 ppm FA. Experimental diets were fed continuously from a minimum of 21 d before first mating throughout the entire study. At one station, blood samples for radioimmunoassay determination of serum folates concentration were collected by vena cava puncture at mating, d 55 of gestation, d 110 of gestation, and at weaning. Stage of reproduction and dietary FA supplementation affected (P < .005) serum folates concentrations. Serum folates declined from mating to d 55, remained low at d 110, and returned to higher levels at weaning. Linear increases (P < .001) in serum folates with increasing level of dietary FA were observed at each reproductive stage. Over the course of the study, reproductive performance criteria including total pigs born, live pigs at birth and d 21, and individual pig and litter weight at birth and d 21 were not affected (P > .10) by inclusion of FA in the diet. The number of days postweaning to estrus also was not affected by FA treatment. Under the conditions of this experiment, increasing level of FA in the diet had a pronounced effect in attenuating decreased serum folates concentration during gestation but was without benefit to reproductive performance.

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Journal of animal science

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