In the last 10 to 15 years, dietary vitamin and trace-mineral additions have grown increasingly important to your pigs because of changes in feeding, housing and management systems.

According to Kansas State University’s swine nutrition guide, some key changes include:

Increased confinement production has denied swine access to soils and grazing crops, which provide vitamins and minerals.

Increased use of slatted floors has prevented recycling of feces, which may be high in B vitamins and vitamin K. These are synthesized by microorganisms in the large intestine.

Reduced use of multiple protein sources in diets. If multiple protein sources are used, they often complement each other in providing the hogs’ vitamin and mineral needs.

Reduced daily feed intake during gestation. Dietary vitamin and mineral concentrations must be increased as daily feed intake is decreased. With the trend of moving sows from outside lots into environmentally controlled buildings, maintenance demands and feeding levels will be lower.

Therefore, to prevent shortages with decreased feed intake, vitamin and

mineral requirements should be expressed on an amount-per-day basis rather than as percentages.

Weaning pigs earlier. There is increasing pressure to wean pigs younger. As weaning age decreases, quality of the diet, with respect to all nutrients, becomes more critical.

Bioavailability of nutrients in heat-dried grains and feed ingredients appears to vary widely. Inhibitors and molds in feed may result in reduced absorption, thereby increasing requirements for certain vitamins.