Swine Vitamin Survey 2022

Researchers at Kansas State University (Faccin et al, 2022) recently surveyed swine vitamin and trace mineral supplementation practices among US swine producers.  A total of 37 nutritionists and production company personnel were surveyed, representing 4.4 million sows, or 72% of US hog production.  Overall, vitamin use rates ranged 3.8 times the most recent 2012 Swine NRC guidelines, and also were higher and more variable when compared to a similar 2016 survey of US vitamin practices in the swine industry (Flohr, 2016).  The top 25% of industry guidelines exceeded OVN Optimum Vitamin Nutrition® minimums for all the fat-soluble and most of the water-soluble vitamins for most production segments.  Major findings indicated a wide range of supplementation practices, with perhaps more industry consensus on supplemental choline, niacin and B6 levels, and highest multiples of NRC levels for vitamin K and folic acid.

Why are industrial levels routinely higher than NRC?

  • Excellent industry awareness of processing and storage losses, and the perceived “margin of safety” needed to support modern production
  • Research advances in understanding the complexity of nutritional requirements and health status, as well as production gains.  For example, HyD® 25-OH-D3 usage in diets for sows, gilt development and nursery pigs has developed since 2016. Also, vitamin C continues to be occasionally supplemented to nursery pigs or sows during periods of anticipated stress, despite no defined NRC recommendation
  • Positive influence of genetics companies—most have recommended micronutrient levels, including vitamins and trace minerals
  • Production and efficiency increases, such as pigs/sow/year (3.5% annual change) or whole system feed efficiency (1.4% annual change), which demonstrate greater vitamin needs per unit of feed intake
  • Logistical implications of serving several production categories (nursery/grow-finish or breeding herd) from one premix
  • Risk management:  vitamins are relatively low cost when compared to risk of deficiency or insufficiency

What’s changed since the 2016 survey?

  • More use of specialty vitamins and trace mineral sources
  • More variability in vitamin use rates (although the 2022 survey covered a higher percentage of the US market)
  • Compared to 2016, 2022 B vitamin usage climbed to 110% in nursery pigs, 118% for Growing/Finishing
  • Breeding herd diets increased fat-soluble vitamin levels an average of 113% in 2022 vs. 2016
  • HyD® 25-OH-D3 usage was noted by 31-38% of respondents (breeding herd, nursery and gilt development programs)

How do US recommendations compare to recent surveys in Brazil and China?

Similar swine vitamin usage surveys were conducted in Brazil (Dalto and Silva, 2020) and China (Yang, 2021).  Comparing the 3 regions, vitamins A and D were generally higher in Brazil than in China and the US.  Supplemental levels of Vitamin K were higher in China than Brazil and the US, whereas water soluble vitamin levels were variable, but usually higher in the US than in the other 2 countries.

How do the results compare to the 2022 North American survey of poultry (Ward, 2022, Ark Nutr Conf)?

There were notable similarities between survey results in swine (Faccin et al, 2022) and broilers (Ward, 2022), including industry adjustments to account for improved efficiency (feed conversion, rate of gain, and days to market), and higher use rates for high-value segments such as nursery/gilt development/breeding herd (swine) and breeders/starters (broiler producers).  In addition, both swine and poultry segments noted the influence of breeding/genetic companies on micronutrient guidelines, and most usage guidelines exceed NRC recommendations by a factor of at least 3-4X.  However, swine producers were more likely to meet or exceed OVN guidelines for vitamins, especially in the top 25% of nutrition guidelines.

Both surveys noted high variability among producer within a segment, although the broiler survey found lowest variation in recommendations for vitamins A and B2 (riboflavin), with highest variability for vitamin E, B12, and folic acid.  In contrast, the KSU swine survey noted lowest variability in usage rates for choline, niacin, and B6, with the highest variability for vitamin K and folic acid.  Vitamin E usage in the 2022 broiler survey was 2.84 X the average use rate noted in 1993 for broiler starter.  

Published on

23 January 2023


  • Swine
  • Vitamins


Faccin et al, KSU Swine Day report, 2022

Flohr, et al, KSU, 2016

Ward, 2022

Yang, 2021

Dalto and Silva, 2020


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