Effects of Post-Insemination Energy Content of Feed on Embryonic Survival in Pigs: A Systematic Review

The feeding of diets with greater energy content than that needed for body maintenance following mating is believed to reduce embryonic survival in pigs. In swine operations, therefore, feed intake is often restricted during the first and second week of pregnancy to reduce embryo mortality. There is thought to be a relationship between feeding diets that result in energy intake that is greater than that needed for body maintenance and embryonic death. This relationship is associated with lesser than typical progesterone (P4) concentrations when feeding diets with greater energy content due to increased hepatic clearance. There is no consensus, however, as to whether feeding should be restricted during early pregnancy to avert this possible detrimental effect. Thus, the aim of this systematic review is to assess the effect in sows and gilts of feeding diets with different energy contents post-mating on embryonic survival, evaluating when possible, the relationship of a greater energy intake and P4 concentrations on embryonic survival. An electronic search was conducted of the PubMed, Science Direct, Scopus, Web of science, and Scielo databases during June 2018. A total of 109 articles were retrieved, and of these, only 16 articles were selected after applying the selection criteria. There was no negative effect of a greater feed intake than that needed for body maintenance after breeding in 75% of the experiments. Results from 35% of the experiments indicated feeding early pregnant sows a diet with greater energy content than that needed for body maintenance resulted in augmented embryonic death. In 66.7% of the experiments, in which there was assessment of P4 concentration, there was no negative effect of feeding after farrowing a diet with greater energy than that needed for body maintenance. In conclusion, it appears that restricted feed intake in early pregnancy is no longer relevant when there are modern prolific dam lines utilized in swine production enterprises because dietary energy of as great as 54 MJ ME/day had no detrimental effect on embryo survival.

Leal D, Muro B, Nichi M, Almond G, Viana C, Vioti G, Carnevale R, Garbossa C. Effects of post-insemination energy content of feed on embryonic survival in pigs: A systematic review. Anim Reprod Sci. 2019 Jun. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anireprosci.2019.04.005