Effects of Triticale-Based Diets on Finishing Pig Performance and Pork Quality in Deep-Bedded Hoop Barns

By Zeb Sullivan, Mark Honeyman, Lance Gibson and Ken Prusa. This article is from the Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 2006.
calendar icon 21 August 2006
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Summary and Implications

Effects of triticale-based diets on finishing pig performance and pork quality in deep-bedded hoop barns were evaluated. Triticale is a synthetic small grain resulting from a cross between durum wheat and rye. The study consisted of four trials: two in winter (November 2003 through March 2004) and two in summer (May 2004 through September 2004) at the ISU Western Research and Demonstration Farm, Castana, IA. Each trial consisted of six pens of ten pigs (five barrows, five gilts) in three small-scale hoop barns (6.0 × 10.8 m).

Pens were randomly assigned one dietary treatment: 1) corn-soybean meal control, 2) 40% Trical 815 triticale diet (by weight) or 3) 80% Trical 815 triticale diet (by weight). The 40 and 80% triticale diets had corn and soybean meal added. Animals had ad libitum access to feed and water during the study. Pigs were started on experiment at approximately 72 kg and fed for 49 d. At the end of each trial all pigs were scanned for backfat thickness and loin muscle area. Barrows from one winter and one summer trial were evaluated for meat and fat quality and sensory evaluation of pork. End weights and ADG were greater during the winter than summer (treatment × season interaction P < 0.01) and decreased as triticale inclusion increased (P < 0.001).

Feed intake was similar. Pigs fed the control diet had the greatest G:F, those fed the 80% triticale diet had the least, with pigs fed the 40% triticale diet having intermediate G:F. During the summer, pigs fed the control diet had more BF (P < 0.05) than those fed the triticale diets. Also during summer, pigs fed the control diet had the largest loin muscle area (LMA) (47.5 ± 1.72 cm2); pigs fed the 40% triticale diet had intermediate LMA (45.5 ± 1.72 cm2) and those fed the 80% triticale diet had the smallest LMA (43.4 ± 1.73 cm2). Dietary treatment had no effect on carcass weight, BF, LMA, percentage lean of barrows or sensory evaluation or fatty acid profile of loin chops. Ultimate pH was higher (P < 0.001), percentage loin purge was less (P < 0.05) and shear force (kg) was less (P < 0.05) during summer than winter. Total monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) were greater (P < 0.05) and total PUFA in loins were less (P < 0.01) during the winter than summer. Replacing corn with triticale in finishing pig diets in hoops slightly decreased growth performance, but did not affect pork quality.

Increasing the amount of triticale in finishing pig diets decreased dietary soybean meal and dicalcium phosphate levels. This may reduce dietary costs. However, pigs fed triticale had 10% less average daily gain and 13% poorer feed conversion at the greater inclusion rate (80% of the diet). This may offset the potentially lower dietary costs. Triticale can be fed to pigs without compromising pork or fat quality. There was no difference in pork eating quality from pigs fed corn-based or triticale-based diets, according to a trained sensory evaluation panel. Further research on triticale-based swine diets is warranted. Triticale-based diets in deep-bedded hoop barns should be evaluated when dietary fat is added, as finishing pig performance may be enhanced. An economic analysis should be conducted on utilization of triticale as a feedstuff in swine diets fed to finishing pigs in deep-bedded hoop barns. From the results of this study, triticale has potential as a feed grain crop in integrated crop and livestock enterprises in the Midwest U. S.


Triticale is a synthetic small grain that results from an intergenetic cross between durum wheat and rye. Triticale has more crude protein and an amino acid profile that more closely matches the needs of the finishing pig than corn. Utilization of triticale as an ingredient in swine diets will decrease the amount of soybean meal needed to meet the amino acid needs of the pig, compared to corn-based diets. There have been conflicting results on the effects of feeding triticale to finishing pigs. Some studies reported similar pig performance when triticale replaced corn as the dietary grain source, while others have shown decreased performance.

Alternative swine production systems have become increasingly popular among pork producers and consumers. Producers are attracted to alternative production systems for many reasons including niche market access, animal welfare concerns, low-capital investments, versatility, health concerns of the producer and environmental considerations. One such alternative swine production system is deep-bedded hoop barns or hoops. Hoops costs per initial pig space are roughly one-third that of confinements. Studies have shown that pigs perform similarly in hoops and confinement.

Triticale is being considered as a potential third crop in the Midwest. In order to become adopted by producers, an additional crop must meet two important criteria. The crop must have a readily accessible market and be profitable to produce. Triticale has shown potential as a feedstuff in swine diets. Producers who may find this to be an attractive crop may also raise swine in an alternative swine production system. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effects of triticale-based diets in deep-bedded hoop barns on finishing pig performance and pork quality.

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June 2006

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