Formulating diets for individual pigs reduces feed costs, environmental impacts

 Farmscape
February 07, 2018
By Farmscape
February 7, 2018, Winnipeg, Man – A scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says tailoring ration formulations to the needs of each pig will lower feeding costs and reduce the environmental impact of manure.

As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, Canadian scientists are developing a precision feeding system that will tailor the ration to match the nutritional needs of each individual pig.

Dr. Candido Pomar, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, says by supplying one diet that meet the needs of the least productive pigs, the producer ends up overfeeding the more productive pigs.

“We have to look at nutrient requirements from two different points of view,” says Dr. Pomar. “One is when we are looking to a given animal or when we are feeding a group of animals the definition of nutrient requirements is very different. Feeding one pig at a given time is not the same thing as feeding a large group of pigs during a long period of time. We have to understand that estimating nutrient requirements, we are addressing the issue of one animal, why are we using that to feed groups of animals?”

“When you over supply the nutrients, you are using important resources that finally ends in manure so this is very expensive,” he adds. “Today the farmers are challenged to reduce feeding costs.”

“Feed costs represent 60 to 70 percent of the cost of producing a hog. So optimizing the level of nutrients, knowing how much the pigs need we can reduce costs. Reducing costs, we are [also] reducing the environmental impact because all the nutrients they giving in excess finish always in the same way, in manure.”

Dr. Pomar says early indications are that by personalizing formulations for each pig, we can produce the same amount of meat with 25 percent less protein, dramatically reducing feed costs.

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