CANADA - Scientists hope to begin commercial trials of a new computerized precision feeder that will tailor rations to meet the nutritional needs of each individual pig early next year, writes Bruce Cochrane.
As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, a multi institutional team of engineers and nutritionists is fine tuning an experimental precision feeder that automatically tracks the feed consumption and growth of individual pigs and tailors their feed to meet their individual nutritional needs.
Dr Candido Pomar, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre at Sherbrook, says the goal is to lower the overall consumption of protein and phosphorus, reducing the cost and the environmental impact of feeding, while maintaining maximum growth of each individual pig.
Dr Candido Pomar-Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada:
Precision feeding, that is feeding individual pigs daily with the amount of nutrients they need, can reduce significantly the amount of nutrients they eat.
For instance we saw, comparing conventional feeding systems with precision feeding, that pigs under precision feeding systems ate 25 per cent less protein.
If you can reduce 25 per cent of protein intake, that means that we can reduce also protein excretion or nitrogen excretion.
In this project we demonstrated that we could reduce by 30 to 35 per cent nitrogen excretion, but we can easily reduce to 40 per cent without too much problem.
We also reduced phosphorus intake and phosphorus excretion as well.
With this reduction of protein intake there is also reductions of feed costs, so we estimate that we can produce the same carcass with 10 to 15 per cent less feed cost.
Dr Pomar says the hope is to begin commercial trials of an updated model of the feeder early next year, and if all goes well to make the system available for commercialization within the next one to two years.
ThePigSite News Desk