Closer Monitoring of Nutritional Value of Rations

CANADA - The increased use of lower cost alternative feed ingredients is forcing farmers and nutritionists to keep a much closer watch on the nutritional value of their rations, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 24 November 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Swine Nutrition-Distiller Grains and Alternative Feedstocks was one of the topics discussed last week in Saskatoon as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2009.

To cut production costs, swine nutritionists are relying less on the traditional corn, wheat or barley rations supplemented with soy or canola meal and opting for a range of alternative ingredients.

Dr Martin Nyachoti, an animal science professor with the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, says those alternative ingredients quite often vary a lot in terms of nutritional content and value.

Dr Martin Nyachoti-University of Manitoba

They need energy, they need protein and mainly the amino acids that the protein supplies and they need calcium, phosphorus and they do need other trace minerals and vitamins in the diet.

For some of those nutrients we must supply sufficient amounts in the diet because the pigs can't synthesize those in the body but you can use a variety of different feed ingredients to formulate those diets.

You can either use your normal cereal grains but you can also utilize various by-products or alternative feed ingredients.

But now when you start looking at other alternative feed ingredients, many of which have a fairly high fibre content, like DDGS, we can't really assume that they are going to behave the same way.

Because we know that the higher fibre or higher protein contents, they do have an impact on how pigs utilise the energy or the protein that we put in the diet.

Rather than basing swine ration formulations on the nutritional content of the ingredients, Dr Nyachoti recommends basing formulations on the level of nutrients available to the pig from a particular ingredient to better match the ration to the needs of the pig.

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