Precision feeding for swine offers benefits

Melanie ConsCanadian Farm News

Swine herd nutrient requirements and manure nutrient excretions reduced through management practice

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer

Individually formulated diets can reduce swine’s nutritional needs and the nutrient content of manure, a recent Swine Innovation Porc study showed.

Scientists are developing the technology to create swine diets that are custom-made for the nutritional needs of each pig in the herd, a Farmscape article said last week.

Researchers can now estimate daily nutrient requirements.

“We can reduce, by at least 25 per cent, the amount of protein that we have to give to the overall group,” Dr. Candido Pomar, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, said in the article.

In conventional systems, all pigs are fed the same diet. However, some pigs need more nutrients than others so herd diets are formulated to meet those higher requirements.

“When we move to precision feeding, then we have the possibility of identifying the nature of each pig and then to provide them daily with the diet that they need,” Pomar said in the article.

Producers can use precision feeding to provide less demanding pigs less nutrient-dense diets, which means lower costs, the release said.

Through reducing the nutrient content of feed, pigs may emit less nutrients from manure.

“Because we are feeding pigs with less nitrogen, less protein, less nitrogen (and) less phosphorus, then we are also reducing nitrogen and phosphorus expression,” Pomar said.

This precision feeding strategy could reduce the levels of these nutrients in manure by around 30 to 40 per cent, which would benefit the environment, he said.

The scientists involved in this study will conduct more research on pig physiology and how they utilize nutrients. Researchers could then further reduce the nutrient requirements of pigs, as well as nutrients in manure.