Evaluation of Feeding Strategies and Measurement of Feed Consumption Using the FeedLogic System

Report by Karen Moore and Bruce Mullan of the Department of Agriculture and Food for Western Australia for the Co-operative Research Centre for an Internationally Competitive Pork Industry, dated February 2009. Trials indicate feed cost savings can be achieved by altering the available lysine:energy ratio on a weekly basis during the growing period or using a constant ratio throughout compared to the conventional practice of using three diets (phase feeding).
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The majority of feed used in commercial piggeries is fed to grower-finisher pigs (20 to 105kg liveweight), and hence even small savings in feed costs during this period can have a large impact on the overall cost of production. It was common for producers to feed two or three diets during this phase of growth but because amino acid and energy requirements are constantly changing as the pig increases in liveweight, there are frequently periods when the diet being fed is supplying excess nutrients. Therefore, if we can feed a greater number of diets during this phase of growth, each being slightly lower in nutrient specifications and hence cost than the one fed previously, then there is potential to reduce the cost of production without any adverse impact on growth or carcass quality.

The change in the lysine to energy ratio with liveweight for each of the experimental treatments.

This experiment utilised the ability to blend feeds using the Feedlogic feed system that has recently been installed at the Medina Research Centre in Western Australia. This meant that by blending two diets, it was possible to alter the nutrient concentration of the diet being fed on a weekly basis. The results showed that there was no significant different in growth rate, feed conversion efficiency or carcass quality when pigs were fed diets as a blend (i.e. changed weekly) as compared to the conventional feeding system, and the savings in feed costs were approximately three Australian cents per kilo liveweight gain.

The other alternative approach is to feed the same diet from 20 to 105kg, the theory being that while the diet in the early stages of growth is supplying insufficient nutrients for pigs to grow to their potential, during the later stages, there is compensatory growth such that there is no overall impact on pig performance. The results from this experiment indicate that under certain circumstances feeding a single diet has merit because there was no significant impact on performance in this experiment yet there was a small saving in feed costs. However, this may not work if the variation in liveweight in pens at the start of the feeding period is greater than that used in the current research.

There are options available for producers to reduce feed costs, and these are largely associated with feeding pigs diets where the nutrient concentration closely matches the pig’s requirements. Two of those options have been explored in this experiment and have shown that cost of production can be decreased, and these results will allow producers and industry to do the necessary economic evaluation to determine if these strategies can be put into practice. The successful implementation of these strategies relies on knowing the nutrient requirements of particular genotypes and the conditions in which those animals are reared.

Further Reading

- You can view the Evaluation Of Feeding Strategies and Measurement of Feed Consumption - Final Report by clicking here.

April 2012
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