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 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:



Feeding for carcass value: Grading system implications

Posted in: Economics, Energy, Meat Quality, Pork Insight Articles by PSCI on June 5, 2017 | No Comments

The grading system is back on the pork industry agenda. With renewed interest in developing a national grading system, it is important to understand the attributes that could be included in the grading system and how it could influence carcass value. There are two main pillars to describe the carcass in all grading systems, Quantity being total lean or salable yield and quality. Carcass leanness is one of the outcomes considered in selection of energy and amino acid densities in diets. The Canadian Pork industry is already using some technologies to in efforts to improve carcass leanness and yield. In contrast, there has been less focus on methods to improve other aspects of pork quality. However, with ta new grading system on the horizon, introduction of new technologies may bring financial rewards for improving pork quality attributes. The pork industry already has the tools to improve quality through nutritional changes that have a direct financial cost. Besides providing appropriate levels of dietary levels of energy and amino acids to improve leanness, targeted supplementation of other nutrients can be used to improve pork quality. The adoption of nutrition strategies is however waiting for economic incentive. Focusing on individual animal needs, and when nutritional intervention would be cost effective will, however be a key to improving the bottom line in the pig barn.

Nutritional Management of Grow-Finish Pigs: Energy and Feed Efficiency

Posted in: Energy, Nutrition, Pork Insight Articles by PSCI on October 29, 2013 | No Comments

Dr. Patience speaks about the importance of caloric efficiency rather than feed efficiency, as  feed efficiency is influenced by so  many factors including composition, processing, and the individual pig’s health and housing state. The cost of energy can vary between ingredients, but overall has risen $0.16 per pig in the last few years. Therefore, it should be a focus to reduce the energy a pig spends on maintenance. One way which to achieve this is to provide greater feeder space. While nutritional content in feed remains important, Dr. Patience stresses the need to reduce the cost of energy.

Empiric Narrowing of the Net Energy Value of Low-Oil Corn DDGS for Hogs

Posted in: Energy, Pork Insight Articles by PSCI on June 11, 2013 | No Comments

The abstract of a study determining the net energy of corn DDGS, with additional oil removed. From empirical evidence the value was deemed to be 2.15-2.30 Mcal/kg.

Evaluation of Energy Digestibility of Canola Co-Products by In Vitro and Digestion Discrepancies Using Spectroscopy

Posted in: Energy, Pork Insight Articles by PSCI on | No Comments

The abstract for a study using spectroscopy to highlight discrepancies in in vitro nutrient analysis. The conclusion is that fat analysis should be a priority for improved analysis due to its impact on protein and fibre analysis.

The Utilization of Dietary Energy by Pigs Differing in Phenotypic Growth Potential

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The abstract for a study that classified barrows as having a projected growth rate (PGR) of slow, medium, or fast based on performance up to nursery exit, and then fed high or low energy diets to see if it was accurate. PGR had no effect on growth, feed intake, finishing feed efficiency, energy utilization or fed heat production. PGR had an effect on growing feed efficiency, lipid composition, and fasting heat production.

Net Energy Levels on Hog Growth, Carcass Characteristics, and $Margin/Feed Cost

Posted in: Energy, Pork Insight Articles by PSCI on | No Comments

The abstract for a study on whether it is better to keep net energy constant for grow-finish pigs, or to decrease it as they approach market weight. The results showed no benefit to having a decreased net energy feed, and hogs responded better when net energy dropped off suddenly rather than gradually.

Managing Energy Intake and Costs of Grow-Finish Pigs

Posted in: Energy, Nutrition, Pork Insight Articles by PSCI on June 9, 2013 | No Comments

The cost of feed has been rising and while research has focused on amino acid requirements and cost, research on the cost of energy itself has been behind. Energy can come from starch, fat, protein or fibre, but the efficiency varies depending on which source is used to obtain the energy. Energy is used by the pig for either maintenance or growth. Maintenance energy requirement calculations look at Fasting Heat Production, but it is important to remember additional costs like temperature regulation, immune challenges, and social stressors. Growth can be achieved through protein or lipid deposition and, while their efficiencies are similar, lean accretion is much more efficient than fat accretion due to the water requirement. Still, lean pigs are not necessarily the most cost effective if they are gaining weight slowly, as they will require extra barn time and maintenance energy. There are variations between herds in ability to maintain growth rate with lower energy density foods. Generally, herds that are able to increase feed intake to maintain energy intake will maintain growth, and will be desirable continuing into the future.

Top Profit Robbers in a Sow Farm: Energy

Posted in: Energy, Pork Insight Articles by PSCI on March 28, 2013 | No Comments

Energy consumption is an area that provides most producers with options to reduce costs by updating systems or procedures. Lighting costs can be reduced by using more efficient bulbs, or deciding on lighting use – which can be aided by automatic timers. Heat lamps in farrowing require proper management to save energy. Ventilation should be set for the season to save on heating/cooling costs, and fans should be kept clear of dust build up. As well, the temperature of the power washer should be high enough to be effective, but not too high as to waste energy. Propane and gas prices seem to be increasing, and their use should be monitored also. Monitoring energy use and having appropriate set points will save costs, and maintain pig performance.

Management Practices That Maximize Feed Efficiency

Posted in: Energy, Nutrition, Pork Insight Articles by PSCI on | No Comments

Increased feed costs highlight the importance of feed efficiency, which can be measured in multiple ways. However, feed costs and barn management should not be overlooked if feed efficiency is improved. Since there are multiple ways to measure feed efficiency, care needs to be taken when for in farm comparisons, and for bench-marking comparisons. Feed efficiency can be impacted by the barn environment, genetics, herd health, diet composition, and pig management. The barn environment mainly concerns maintaining proper temperature, which can be affected by ventilation and dampness. Genetics can alter feed efficiency, growth rate, and feed intake, so there will likely be trade-offs to improve one or multiple traits. High herd health status will improve feed efficiency, and highlights the need for strong biosecurity protocol. Diet composition can influence feed efficiency through energy concentrations, nutrients, additives, and form of feed. Finally, pig management includes feeder design, feeder space, and whether pigs are sorted (not recommended).

Feed, Caloric and Financial Efficiency

Posted in: Economics, Energy, Pork Insight Articles by PSCI on March 14, 2013 | No Comments

Providing sufficient dietary energy is the most expensive cost for a swine facility, and high barn throughput is now not always the way to gain the most net profit. Energy comes from starch, protein, fat, and fibre which are all used with a different efficiency. Current diets often use a wide variety of ingredients, and the price relationship between ingredients has changed, making the cost of formulating present diets more complex than in the past. Once obtained by the pig, energy can be used for maintenance, fat gain, or lean gain. Maintenance uses 25-35% of the energy intake: this will need to be accounted for if pigs are kept in the barn for a longer period of time. The trade-off for using a less expensive, lower energy diet is that the pig will be in the facility for longer, and maintenance and space costs will be higher than for a quicker throughput. When lowering dietary energy concentration it is important to consider the energy intake of the pig. At too low a concentration, the pig may not be able to consume enough feed to maintain the same growth rate as a higher concentration feed. The intake of feed varies among farms, and it would be best to create a farm-specific feed intake curve to determine what energy concentration will be best. Other aspects of the diet will have an impact on carcass characteristics as well, for example dietary fat. The source and the quantity of fat in the diet will affect the deposition and firmness of the carcass fat. Overall, dietary energy concentrations and sources should be carefully considered to lower costs, but the other aspects of the diet should not be overlooked.

 
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