Acidification improves grain preservation and boosts weaning pig performance

Research has shown acidification of high moisture grains can improve preservation and boost the growth of weaning pigs
calendar icon 20 August 2018
clock icon 3 minute read

As part of a Swine Innovation Porc research initiative to develop feeding strategies to improve profitability, scientists have evaluated the benefits of including high-moisture grains – treated with acids to improve preservation – into the diets of weaning pigs.

Dr Denise Beaulieu, an assistant professor in monogastric nutrition with the University of Saskatchewan, explains that we know adding acids to the diets of weanling pigs prior to feeding improves growth so the intent of this study was to determine whether feeding these pre-treated high-moisture grains would result in the same benefits.

Dr Beaulieu explains the study:

“In one set of experiments we used wheat-based diets and in the other we used barley-based diets; looking at the difference between acid-preserved wheat or barley.

“We trialled different types of acid in the acidified barley and wheat diets, and then compared the results to diets where grain was not acidified, and then to diets where the acid was added directly at the time of feeding.

“Actually, we didn't see a lot of difference in the results between the types of acid used in acidification.

“One of our answers was, yes, that you can feed acid-preserved grain and get comparable results to in-feed acidification. The two performed more-or-less equal. We saw comparable results between the in-feed acidification as to when we fed the acid-preserved grains.

“What this does is give farmers one more option. Let's say, if there is a year where we have really poor harvest conditions, a lot of the grain is being taken off wet. Instead of having to pay to dry the grain – that can be very expensive and with the high energy costs – they could use acid preservation as one more option.

“This is one more tool that they could have to use low-quality grains to feed their pigs.”

Dr Beaulieu notes that an economic analysis showed the cost of acidification to improve the storage of high moisture grains is lower than the cost of drying.

As reported by Bruce Cochrane, Farmscape.Ca

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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