Precision Feeding Promises Reduced Environmental Impact

CANADA - A research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says, by formulating diets individually for each pig, pork producers can reduce the excretion of nutrients into the environment by as much as 30 per cent, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 19 September 2016
clock icon 3 minute read

As part of a project being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc scientists are developing a precision feeder to custom formulate and deliver rations that match the nutritional needs of each individual pig.

Faster growing higher performing pigs receive a less nutritionally dense diet while the slower growing animals receive a more highly concentrated ration.

Dr Candido Pomar, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at Sherbrook, says, in addition to cutting feed costs, this approach results in less excretion of nutrients into the environment.

Dr Candido Pomar-Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada:

Normally the excretion is the difference between the intake and the retention so, if you have been providing the group with 25 per cent less protein for instance, you have a reduction of nitrogen excretion that goes around 40 to 50 per cent so there's a large decrease nutrient excretion and similar numbers are obtained for phosphorus.

You reduce phosphorus intake and you reduce in large amounts the phosphorus excretion.

We are completing the phosphorus work, so we are expecting reductions between 30 and 40 per cent also in phosphorus excretion which is very important for producers.

Animals eat diets that have less nutrients, they excrete much less nutrients and obviously the feeds for these animals are cheaper because you don't need to provide animals with so concentrated diets, so we are talking about maybe eight dollars to ten dollars per pig in feed costs of the animals.

Dr Pomar says precision feeding offers more consistent growth across the herd, reduced feed costs and benefits for the environment.

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