Prairie Swine Centre

 Industry Partners

Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan

Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:

Author(s): C.F.M. de Lange, D. McDonald and D. Gillis
Publication Date: January 1, 1993
Reference: Prairie Swine Centre Annual Research Report 1993 pp. 31-34
Country: Canada


Calcium and phosphorus play a role in many physiological processes in addition to development and maintenance of the skeleton. Calcium is seen as a relatively inexpensive ingredient, but phosphorus is the third most expensive nutrient after energy and protein (amino acids). It is important to consider both minerals when formulating a diet since the level of calcium in the diet affects phosphorus uptake. The objective of the current study is to determine the effect of dietary calcium and phosphorus levels on animal performance and on bone mineralization in growing-finishing pigs. The amount of available phosphorus in different ingredients varies considerably. Therefore, swine diets should be formulated on the basis of available phosphorus rather than total phosphorus. It is generally found that calcium and phosphorus levels in practical grower-finisher diets are higher than those recommended by the NRC (1998). It is also known that higher dietary levels of calcium and phosphorus are required for bone mineralization than for optimum growth rate and feed efficiency. During the trial three dietary treatments were provided, high, medium and low levels of dietary calcium and phosphorus. To evaluate bone mineralization, metacarpal and metatarsal bones from carcasses from 3 gilts and 3 barrows in each treatment was analyzed.
Results suggested no difference in any of the animal performance parameters between the high and medium calcium and phosphorus levels. During the grower phase, performance only slightly reduced at the low calcium and phosphorus level. When low levels of calcium and phosphorus were fed, it was calculated that available phosphorus was 30% lower than recommended by the NRC (1998). The present study did not provide any evidence that the available phosphorus levels in grower-finisher diets should be any higher than those suggested by the NRC (1998). Further research is needed to determine whether the available phosphorus levels in grower-finisher diets can be further reduced as the calcium to available phosphorus is increased.

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