Research Shows Phase Feeding Gestating Sows Saves on Feed Costs

22 November 2012, at 11:53am

CANADA - Research conducted by the University of Alberta suggests pork producers can reduce their feed costs by altering the diets of gestating sows as they move closer to farrowing, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Phase feeding, used extensively in grower finisher barns, involves feeding different diets to pigs of different size and age to meet their nutrient requirements without feeding too much or not enough.

As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc the University of Alberta is examining the value of phase feeding gestating sows.

The work is being conducted at the University's Swine Research and Technology Centre in Edmonton. Dr Soneke Moehn, a swine nutritionist with the University of Alberta, says considerable nutrition research has been conducted on grower finisher pigs but not so much on sows.

Dr Soneke Moehn-University of Alberta:

We studied energy and amino acids, that's protein, requirements of sows and how it changes during pregnancy and how it changes with age.

We have studied four amino acids, constituents of protein, and for all these amino acids we've seen that the requirement for amino acids is greater in late pregnancy compared to early pregnancy and in both early and late pregnancy, the requirements become less and less as the sow ages and becomes truly adult.

The second point was that the energy requirement is also greater in late pregnancy than in early pregnancy and that's again regardless of age of sow.

Dr Moehn says the results suggest we need to give the sows more nutrients in late pregnancy than in early pregnancy and, when feeding a single diet for gestation, we're feeding too much in early pregnancy.

He says that means we can feed less formulated feed in early pregnancy and more in late pregnancy and save a little bit of feed as compared to a constant feeding allowance.

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