Short communication: Commercial diets for pigs in the United States contain more calcium than formulated


Data from Europe indicate that commercial diets for pigs and poultry contain significantly more Ca than formulated. Therefore, a survey of commercial pig diets used in the United States was conducted to test the hypothesis that the analyzed concentrations of total Ca and total P in commercial pig diets in the United States are not greater than formulated values. A total of 103 diet samples from the commercial swine industry in the United States were collected between 2019 and 2021. Diet samples were provided by feed mills, feed companies, or swine farms located in major swine-producing states in the United States including NC, TN, IA, IN, KS, MN, NE, and IL. Diets were formulated for nursery pigs, growing-finishing pigs, or sows. Each company provided formulated values for total Ca and P in all samples. Samples were sent to the University of Illinois where they were ground and analyzed for Ca and P by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry. Theformulated values for Ca and P were regressed against analyzed values, and the intercept was considered the estimated under- or over-supply of each mineral. Results indicated that there was an average of 0.19 percentage units more Ca (model; P < 0.001) in the diets than formulated, whereas, for total P, the average oversupply was only 0.06 percentage units (model; P < 0.001). In conclusion, diets used in the U.S. swine industry contain more total Ca than formulated, whereas total P is close to formulated values, which indicates that greater importance is given to P than to Ca in formulation. However, the current data indicate that more attention should be given to the actual concentration of Ca in all Ca-containing feed ingredients to avoid Ca oversupply and its detrimental effect on P digestibility and growth performance of pigs fed diets that do not contain excess P.

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