Research Provides Nutritionists Information to Incorporate New Feed Ingredients into Swine Rations

Farmscape for December 16, 2022

Full Interview 15:10 Listen

Research underway at the University of Alberta is providing nutritionists the information they need to maximize the nutritional value of pig feed as they incorporate new feed ingredients into rations. As part of research being conducted with funding from Swine Innovation Porc and Alberta Pork, scientists with the University of Alberta are characterizing the nutritional profiles of cereal and pulse crops for swine and evaluating techniques and technologies to improve those profiles. Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra, a professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science with the University of Alberta, says the goal is to help reduce feed costs by broadening the list of ingredients that nutritionists can incorporate into swine diets.

ClipDr. Ruurd Zijlstra-University of Alberta:
If you look at cereal grains overall, the primary reason that we include them in swine diets is energy. They tend to be rich in starch and not so rich in protein. More protein is something new that pulse grains bring to the table. They’re not as rich as cereal grains in starch but they still provide substantial starch and they provide roughly double the protein than cereal grains do. By having the opportunity to use both cereal and pulse grains in diet formulation in western Canada, you actually reduce the need for having other protein sources supplemented in diets, particularly when it comes to finisher pigs. When it comes to younger pigs we still tend to use other protein sources as well such as soybean meal and canola meal but that might not be needed for finisher pigs and that’s quite important because the biggest proportion of feed costs of a pig is during the finishing phase when pigs consume the largest amount of feed during their lifespan.

Dr. Zijlstra says information gathered through this work will be of value to nutritionists and pork producers who formulate pig feeds and should increase their level of confidence in adding new feed ingredients to the mix.

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