CANADA - Research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc suggests pork producers can improve profitability by feeding nursery pigs less complex lower cost rations, writes Bruce Cochrane.
As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc scientists are examining the role nursery phase feeding programs play in overall performance right up to slaughter weight and on carcass quality.
Dr Kees de Lange, a professor of swine nutrition with the University of Guelph, says by reducing the complexity of the diet during the nursery phase researchers were able to make the feeding program considerably cheaper.
Dr Kees de Lange-University of Guelph:
We had expected that by feeding cheaper diets in the nursery phase we also would have a negative effect on performance during the grower finisher phase and even on carcass quality.
But to our surprise when we fed those lower complexity and cheaper nursery diets we did indeed see a reduction in performance during the nursery phase but during the early grower phase we saw so-called compensatory growth.
By the time those pigs reached market weight the days to market, carcass quality was a least as good as compared to those pigs that had received a more expensive nursery feeding program.
That has been the basis for further research because one concern that has arisen is that if you feed those lower complexity diets you make those pigs a little bit more susceptible to disease.
That is the research program that's ongoing right now and that will continue on for another two to three years.
Dr de Lange says, based on the original studies, the economic implications of feeding less complex nursery diets can be at least two dollars per pig but before we come to that conclusion we need a better understanding of how diet quality interacts with pig genotype and on farm environmental conditions.
He says it's too early to make firm conclusions but the potential for reducing feed costs is substantial.
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