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Finding ways to feed pigs for less
Date:6/7/2012

Results of a preliminary experiment conducted at the University of Illinois indicate that it may be possible to select pigs that can make efficient use of energy in less expensive feed ingredients, thus reducing diet costs.

Less expensive feed is usually higher in fiber than the corn-soy diets typically used in U.S. swine production, explained Hans H. Stein, professor of animal sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. However, the white breeds that are used in commercial pork production use only about 40 percent of the insoluble fiber. "If you can increase that number to 50 or 60 or 70 percent, then of course, you would get a much better use of the energy in those ingredients," Stein explained.

"The white breeds have been selected for high efficiency and rapid gain for many, many generations," Stein continued. "But that's all based on corn-soy diets. However, there are also indigenous breeds of pigs that have not been selected for commercial production, and these breeds have, therefore, not been fed the corn-soybean meal diets for as many generations as the white breeds."

Among those indigenous breeds are Meishan pigs, which have been raised in China for many centuries. Stein's hypothesis was that these pigs, which have not been selected for efficiency and rapid weight gain, would use fiber more efficiently than the white breeds.

Stein and his team compared the fiber digestion of Meishan pigs with that of two groups of Yorkshire pigs. They tested four diets that used high-fiber ingredients: distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), soybean hulls, sugar beet pulp, and pectin. When fed DDGS, the values for apparent total tract energy digestibility were higher for the Meishan pigs (83.5%) than for either weight-matched (77.3%) or age-matched (78.8%) Yorkshire pigs. Researchers observed no significant difference in energy digestibility for the other ingredients.

"What we observed was that, particul
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Contact: Susan Jongeneel
sjongene@illinois.edu
217-333-3291
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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