Feb. 14, 2015


New review of studies affirms benefits of copper supplements in piglet rations



A recent meta-analysis of available study results showed that adding copper to rations of weaned pigs significantlyimproved daily weight gain by as much as 3% and feed efficiency by 2.6% compared to other forms of trace minerals.


These findings are supported in the paper, "Multi-trial analysis of the effects of copper level and source on performance in nursery pigs," published in the Journal of Animal Science (JAS), the world's leading agriculture and animal sciences journal. The paper was co-authored by Yulin Ma, Karen Wedekind, Jeffery Escobar, Junmei Zhao, Mercedes Vazquez-Anon and Geoff I. Zanton of Novus International Inc.


One such copper supplement product is the MINTREX® Cu chelated trace mineral, which also improved gut health of weaned pigs resulting in a reduction in diarrhea incidence by 23%, as compared to other trace mineral forms. Additionally, growing-finishing pigs fed the supplement experienced an improved immune response and improved nutrients digestibility in a common corn-soybean diet, according to a Novus International Inc. news release.


"It's important to meet a pig's nutritional needs during critical growing periods to improve feed intake and feed efficiency, and promote growth," said Dr. Yulin Ma, swine nutrition technical manager at Novus International. "Although copper is needed in only small amounts, this research presents compelling evidence that the trace mineral contributes to optimal pig performance, and that the unique properties of Mintrex Cu make it the best choice for producers."


Mintrex Cu, according to its US-based manufacturer, Novus International, is a highly bioavailable source of copper and the only mineral chelated with HMTBa, the active ingredient in ALIMET feed supplement. The more bioavailable a mineral is, the lower the dietary concentration needed and the less mineral excreted to the environment. Increased bioavailability reduces feed costs and minimizes nutrient waste.


Copper is an essential component of a functional immune system and contributes to performance in a variety of ways including iron utilization, nutrient absorption and digestion, and general metabolic function. Copper also has similar antibacterial and growth-promoting effects as antibiotics.