Fibre from Straw Could Improve Gestating Sow Diets

CANADA - Scientists working on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc are assessing the potential of using straw as a source of fibre in the diets of gestating sows, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 15 July 2016
clock icon 3 minute read

As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine innovation Porc, a multi-institutional team of scientists is working to increase sow milk yield and piglet growth through the use of low-cost feeding and management strategies.

Among the ingredients being assessed is fibre derived from wheat and oat straw.

Dr Denise Beaulieu, an Assistant Professor in Monogastric Nutrition with the University of Saskatchewan, explains the inclusion of fibre in the diet will assist in maintaining the proper body condition of the sow during gestation.

Dr Denise Beaulieu-University of Saskatchewan:

One of the big influences is is not to have the sows too fat during gestation and that is why they're limit fed.

If we give them all the food they want to eat when they're pregnant they will actually consume more than they need and they'll get fat.

If they are overweight when they farrow, when they have their piglets, that causes problems with feed intake right after farrowing.

What is really important is the feed and maintaining the proper body condition during gestation, that has a major effect on milk production during lactation.

Some fibre in the diet during gestation has been shown to have a beneficial effect because it improves this feeling of fullness.

We can get fibre from all ingredients and previously we've looked at fibre, for example, from oat hulls or wheat screenings.

Specifically in this experiment we're actually going back and looking at straw.

Straw, a sow normally wouldn't be able to use straw.

She's not designed to digest straw so we're looking at ways of processing the straw.

For example, if we apply some heat and some moisture can we break down some of that fibre so it can become a useful ingredient for the sow.

Dr Beaulieu is confident information gathered through this work will benefit gestating sows in either group housing or stall housing systems.

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