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Evaluation of the potential benefits of iron supplementation in organic pig farming

Abstract : Background: Iron from the stock acquired during foetal life and the ingestion of milk is not sufficient to cover the needs of the piglets during their first weeks of life. In organic farming, systematic supplementation with iron is problematic due to a strong limitation in pharmaceutic treatments. Methods: Erythroid parameters around weaning were measured in piglets from organic outdoor and indoor farms, and related to indicators of the inflammatory status. Blood samples were collected from 28.9±2.6 piglets/herd at 42.0±3.2 days of age and 11.9±3.0 kg live weight (mean ± SD) in 21 farms from the west part of France. Among the 11 outdoor farms, only one had supplemented piglets with 200 mg iron while among the 10 indoor farms, only one had not supplemented piglets, one had supplemented them with 100 mg, 8 with 200 mg and one with 400 mg. Results: Compared to outdoor piglets without supplementation, piglets kept indoors and receiving 200 mg iron had lower haemoglobin concentration (105 vs 118±2 g/l, mean ± SE) and red blood cell volume (56 vs 60±1 fl) (P<0.005). The reduction in haemoglobin concentration and red blood cell volume was more pronounced in indoor piglets supplemented with 100 mg of iron and even more when they had not received iron. The plasma concentration of haptoglobin was lower in outdoor than in indoor piglets (0.51±0.06 vs 0.78±0.09 g/l) whereas no effect of housing was observed for markers of oxidative stress (dROM, BAP). In the 14 farms where sow parity was known, the haemoglobin concentration was lower in piglets from primiparous than from multiparous sows (109 versus 114±2 g/l, P < 0.001). Conclusion: With the exception of soils where the content of bioavailable iron is very low, piglets from outdoor farms do not require iron supplementation, unlike those raised indoors.
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Submitted on : Monday, March 28, 2022 - 12:05:25 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, August 6, 2022 - 3:27:36 AM

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Armelle Prunier, Mily Leblanc-Maridor, Maud Pauwels, Laetitia Jaillardon, Catherine Belloc, et al.. Evaluation of the potential benefits of iron supplementation in organic pig farming. Open Research Europe, F1000 Research Limited on behalf of the European Commission, 2022, 2, ⟨10.12688/openreseurope.14367.2⟩. ⟨hal-03544550v2⟩

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