Approaches to Swine Nutrition Become More Sophisticated

28 November 2012, at 10:33am

US - An Iowa State University swine nutritionist says the formulation of swine diets has become much more sophisticated over the past 20 years, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Depending on the operation, the cost of feed accounts for between 60 and 70 per cent of the cost of producing a pig.

Dr. John Patience, a professor of animal science and applied swine nutrition with Iowa State University, told those on hand earlier this month in Saskatoon for Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2012, approaches to formulating swine diets have become much more sophisticated to give us more predictable outcomes that will maximize net income.

Clip-Dr. John Patience-Iowa State University : Back in 1991 we were formulating in a much less sophisticated way. We didn't understand the nutrients very well, we didn't understand our ingredients and we certainly didn't understand the pig very well in terms of the variation that exists among pigs, the variation that exists among farms and how do we address that when we're developing feeding programs.

The net result is, in 1991 we formulated diets and we did it badly. In 2012 we don't formulate diets, we develop feeding programs. We look at the implications on net income of those feeding programs so we don't evaluate them in terms of how fast the pig grows or what its feed conversion is.

We evaluate them in terms of what will they provide in terms of net income for the farm, so much more sophisticated and much more focused on the bottom line which is so critical to the success of a pork producer.

Dr. Patience notes diets are now being formulated based on standardized ileal digestible amino acids which considers the amino acids available to the pig.

We're increasingly formulating diets based on net energy which puts a more accurate value on the energy contribution of ingredients and we're formulating based on available phosphorus which allows us to reduce costs while minimizing the quantity of phosphorus in the manure.

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