University of Minnesota examines the effect of water quality on pig performance

A new study at the University of Minnesota explores the link between water quality and performance, gut health and livability of nursery pigs.
calendar icon 31 January 2020
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According to reporting from, the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center will explore the influence of water quality on key performance and well-being indicators in nursery pigs. The project will compare three different water sources (two that are considered “poor”, and one that’s deemed “good”). Through a series of video recordings, water sample collection and data analysis, researchers will explore how water quality might influence gut function, immune system function and pig behaviour.

The need for this type of study was raised by producer concerns and echoed by the Minnesota Pork Board.

“Water quality is an important factor within livestock production, and often times, receives too little attention,” Brent Frederick, Director of Research and Development at Christensen Farms, said. “While we focus on the essentials of our pigs every day, in providing them feed, air and water, this research will allow us to fully understand the effects that water quality may have on the overall performance of our animals.”

The research team is also evaluating the range of water qualities used in Minnesota’s pork industry. A data set with this information does not currently exist. The researchers hope the results will provide more information on gut function. They also hope the study results will show producers how to improve gut integrity, reduce negative impacts of pathogens in the gut and keep pigs healthy. Improved pig performance and health will also reduce the amount of antibiotics used in production and cut the carbon footprint of pork production.

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