An Evaluation of Nutrition Strategies to Lower Pig Starter Feed Costs

By Doug Landblom and Chip Poland, Dickinson Research Extension Center, ND. - When baby pigs are weaned between 14 and 21 days of age nutrient-dense pig starter feed must be provided to insure steady and economical growth without weaning lag. Within the first four weeks after a 21 day weaning, a healthy pig will customarily consume from 27 to 32 pounds of feed and grow an average .7 pound per day.
calendar icon 28 October 2001
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This growth is derived from gains ranging from .30 pound/day during the first week after weaning to gains of 1.10 pounds/day by the end of a four week post-weaning period. Pigs weaned averaging 10 to 13 pounds that grow according to their full genetic potential will nearly triple their weight, weighing 29 - 33 pounds in four weeks, while consuming 1.6 pounds of nutrient-dense feed/pound of gain.

Feed consumption during the first 28-days after weaning represents approximately 5% of the feed required to grow a pig from weaning to 250 pounds. While the young, healthy, pig is a very efficient converter of nutrients to body tissue, dietary ingredients required to insure pigs will grow to their full genetic potential are expensive. Exercising a plan for the strategic allocation of nutrient dense ingredients may provide a way to lower pig starter feed cost without compromising weanling pig growth.

Highly digestible feedstuffs such as spray-dried animal plasma (SDAP), soy protein concentrate (SPC), spray-dried blood meal (SDBM), purified lactose (L) and dried whey (DW)] are valuable ingredients in pig starter diets. When supplied in proper proportions they stimulate feed intake, daily gain and minimize post-weaning lag (Stoner et al., 1990, Hansen et al., 1993, Kats et al., 1994 and de Rodas et al., 1995).

The first objective of this nutrition management investigation was to evaluate nutrient replacement strategies to determine if feed intake and pig growth could be maintained while lowering the cost of production.

The second objective was to evaluate pig response and efficacy when the experimental protein and lactose formulations were prepared with either corn, hull-less oats, hull-less waxy barley or spring wheat as basal grains.

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