Research into Improving Piglet Nutrition

CANADA - The head of the Department of Animal and Poultry Science with the University of Saskatchewan says, by ensuring diets formulated for piglets get them off to a good start, they will be healthier throughout the production cycle and more profitable for producers, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 22 December 2014
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As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc scientists with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Prairie Swine Centre and the Universities of Laval, Guelph, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta are assessing innovative piglet management strategies from birth to slaughter aimed at optimising performance and ensuring profitable pork production.

Dr Andrew Van Kessel, the head of the Department of Animal and Poultry Science with the University of Saskatchewan, says scientists are focusing on pre-weaning and post-weaning nutritional strategies aimed at reducing diet costs, while ensuring efficient utilisation and healthy growth all the way through the production cycle.

Dr Andrew Van Kessel - University of Saskatchewan:

Ultimately it'll be the swine producer that we hope is the primary beneficiary in terms of improved feeding strategies, improved health of the pigs, improved profitability, reduced feeding costs but of course there are the feed industry companies that are producing diets, that are formulating diets.

These nutritionists will be using this information in terms of the diets they recommend to swine farmers and the feed additives industry.

There's certainly a significant industry that provides feed additives that improve nutrition, improve the health of the pigs, and we can potentially see new products that might arise from this work that these companies would offer to producers.

Dr Van Kessel says that with feed costs representing 60 to 70 per cent of the costs of producing swine, reducing the cost of feed while improving performance is critical to improved profitability.

He notes we often see advantages in growth performance and health in the early post-weaning period but it remains a question whether that early advantage carries through to slaughter weight and actually results in improved profitability

Charlotte Rowney

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