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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Nutrition

Multitrial analysis of the effects of copper level and source on performance in nursery pigs1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 93 No. 2, p. 606-614
    Received: Feb 28, 2014
    Accepted: Nov 20, 2014
    Published: January 15, 2015

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. Y. L. Ma 2,
  2. G. I. Zanton33,
  3. J. Zhao,
  4. K. Wedekind,
  5. J. Escobar and
  6. M. Vazquez-Añón
  1. Novus International Inc., 20 Research Park Drive, Saint Charles, MO 63304


A multitrial analysis was conducted to evaluate the effect of different levels of Cu from either Cu(2-hydroxy-4-(methylthio)butanoic acid [HMTBa])2 or CuSO4 on growth performance in nursery pigs. Six nursery trials were conducted from 2007 to 2012 under the same commercial conditions with initial BW of 5.75 ± 0.41 kg at 21 ± 3 d of age; the trials lasted for 42 d with a 3-phase feeding program (7 d in Phase I, 14 d in Phase II, and 21 d in Phase III). Diets were medicated with antibiotics and supplemented with 3,000 mg/kg Zn as ZnO during phases I and/or II. Treatments included a basal diet without added Cu or according to the NRC (1998) and supplemental levels of Cu (50 to 250 mg Cu/kg diet) from either Cu(HMTBa)2 or CuSO4; HMTBa was supplemented to make diets isomethionine. Treatments from each trial included 6 or 9 replicate pens/treatment with 22 to 25 piglets/pen. Mixed model analysis was conducted in which trial was considered a random effect, Cu level was considered a continuous fixed effect, and Cu source was a fixed effect. The basal diet within trial and statistical tests of the intercept between sources were not different, resulting in fitting a common intercept mixed model to the overall responses across phases. Cumulative ADG and ADFI quadratically responded (P < 0.05) with increasing Cu supplementation; predicted optimal ADG and ADFI occurred at 174 and 119 mg/kg, respectively. Increasing Cu supplementation linearly improved G:F (P = 0.054). No differences between sources were observed in ADG or ADFI. Numerically, pigs fed Cu(HMTBa)2 had higher ADG and lower ADFI compared to pigs fed CuSO4, resulting in better G:F for pigs supplemented with Cu(HMTBa)2 compared to pigs supplemented with CuSO4 (P < 0.01). The linear slope for increasing Cu supplementation on G:F was 2.1-fold higher for Cu(HMTBa)2 than that of CuSO4, with larger differences occurring in Phase II. In conclusion, Cu supplementation in nursery diets resulted in improved performance and Cu(HMTBa)2 is more effective than CuSO4 in improving feed efficiency.

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