Ontario Pork

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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:



Compounding Iron Dextran with NSAIDs for Use in Piglets at Time of Processing

Posted in: Ontario Pork, Pork Insight Articles by PSCI on August 18, 2015 | No Comments

The objective of this project was to evaluate whether the mixing (compounding) of NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory/analgesic agents), such as meloxicam or flunixin meglumine, with iron dextran for administration to piglets at the time of processing has any effects on the availability of the NSAID. In a series of experiments, we evaluated the stability and systemic availability of both NSAIDs when mixed with iron dextran in the same bottle for administration to piglets at the time of processing.  We also evaluated the effects of this practice on iron dextran’s ability to increase piglet hemoglobin concentrations.   We found that the amount of NSAID recovered from the bottle was reduced beginning shortly after mixing.  We also found that blood drug levels measured in piglets for each NSAID when compounded with iron dextran was significantly lower than when each NSAID was administered alone to piglets.  We did not find any significant effects of mixing NSAIDs with iron dextran on iron dextran’s ability to increase hemoglobin following administration to piglets.  The overall conclusion from these experiments is that the mixing of NSAIDs with iron dextran in the same bottle for administration to piglets at the time of processing results in a suspected drug interaction that reduces the shelf-life of the formulation and the amount of NSAID available for therapeutic effects.

Ontario Pork Research

Posted in: Ontario Pork, Pork Insight Articles by PSCI on January 29, 2014 | No Comments

Potential research funding was offered to 8 projects in Ontario after Ontario Pork compiled research outcomes into production, economic, societal trends and perception, and innovation priority areas. The projects include a Canadian health claim feasibility assessment report for pork producers, and research on improving understanding of nitrogen nutrition for growing pigs to improve flexibility in feed formulation and reduce nitrogen losses into the environment. As well, studies on minimum duration of teat use required in first lactation to ensure optimal milk yield in second lactation, the relationship between feed, genetics, health, and growth performance up to market weight in pigs, and the effects of zinc oxide on gut microflora and antibiotic resistance were approved. The final three approved research proposals were on the prevalence of iron deficiency in suckling pigs, combining iron-dextran and NSAIDs for use while castrating, and testing for a genetic defect for in-transit deaths in pigs with heart lesions.

A new intelligent electronic nose system for measuring and analysing livestock and poultry farm odours

Posted in: Ontario Pork, Pork Insight Articles by PSCI on August 27, 2013 | No Comments

In livestock and poultry farming, odour measurement and reduction are necessary for a cleaner environment, lower health risks to humans,  and higher quality of livestock and poultry production. This paper introduces a new portable intelligent electronic nose system developed especially for measuring and analysing livestock and poultry farm odours. It can be used in both laboratory and field. The sensor array of the proposed electronic nose consists of 14 gas sensors, a humidity sensor, and a temperature sensor. The  gas sensors were especially selected for the main compounds from the livestock farm odours.  An expert system called “Odour Expert” was developed to support researchers’ and farmers’ decision making on odour control strategies for livestock and poultry operations. “Odour Expert” utilises several advanced artificial intelligence technologies tailored to livestock and poultry farm odours. It can provide more advanced odour analysis than existing commercially available products. In addition, a rank of odour generation factors is provided, which refines the focus of odour control research. It is easier and cheaper to operate than using olfactometry or human panel. Thus it has good commercial potential. Field experiments were conducted downwind from the barns on 14 livestock and poultry farms. Experimental results show that the predicted odour strengths by the electronic nose yield higher consistency in comparison to the perceived odour intensity by human panel. The “Odour Expert” is a useful tool for assisting farmers’ odour management practises.

Pain control for castration and tail docking

Posted in: Ontario Pork, Pork Insight Articles by PSCI on August 26, 2013 | No Comments

A study was performed to determine if the pain killer, meloxicam could be used to minimize the pain associated with processing piglets (castration and tail-docking). Both male and female piglets were given an injection of meloxicam or a placebo at least 30 minutes prior to processing. Mortality and growth rate were monitored and treatment was found to have no effect on these parameters. Castrated piglets receiving meloxicam displayed significantly less tail-jamming behaviour and tended to exhibit less isolating behaviour compared to piglets receiving the placebo. These behaviour results suggest meloxicam did reduce pain.  A second piglet study was performed to evaluate a different pain killer, ketoprofen. Results were similar to the meloxicam study, with no difference in growth rate and mortality between pigs receiving a pain killer and those pigs receiving the placebo, but behaviour and cortisol levels suggested a positive reduction in pain during the first few hours after castration. Another study evaluated the use of a local anesthetic (lidocaine) injected into the testicle to reduce the pain associated with castration.  The local anesthetic helped block the acute pain caused by severing the spermatic cord and removing the testicle, and the combination lidocaine and meloxicam helped reduce behavioural changes up to 24 hours after castration. Our conclusion from this work is that an analgesic given at the time of handling for processing is practical and not a significant economic burden, but the combination of local and analgesic is questionable both from a welfare and a labour standpoint.

Estimation of Amino Acid Requirements for Modern Sows

Posted in: Ontario Pork, Pork Insight Articles by PSCI on August 19, 2013 | No Comments

This paper will review recent sow nutrition research and suggest feeding strategies for sows. Firstly, amino acid requirements in late gestation are greater than in early gestation. Threonine and isoleucine requirements increased, relative to lysine, from early to late gestation while the tryptophan to lysine ratio showed little change. The threonine to lysine ratio was greater for both early and late gestation in the third vs. second parity. These changes in amino acid requirement have important consequences. First, the magnitude of change in requirements makes it nearly impossible to satisfy the requirements using a single diet during gestation. Second, the data show that the amino acid ratios change as pregnancy progresses and as sows age. These changes in ideal amino acid ratios for sows are probably caused by the changing contributions of requirements for maintenance and maternal and fetal growth to total amino acid requirements. Secondly,  it can be expected that energy requirements increase as pregnancy progresses because of sow weight gain and because of the exponential growth of fetuses. Because of the changes in energy and amino acid requirements during gestation, a single phase feeding program will lead to overfeeding during early gestation and underfeeding during late gestation. Overfeeding in early gestation results in unwanted fat deposition, while underfeeding in late gestation leads to sows entering lactation in a severe catabolic state. Therefore, phase feeding gestating sows is necessary to supply nutrients in the right amount at the right time.

Phase Feeding for Pregnant Sows

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This paper will review recent sow nutrition research and suggest feeding strategies for sows. Firstly, the requirement for amino acids must be greater in late gestation compared to early gestation. Overfeeding in early gestation results in a waste of feed and money, while underfeeding in late gestation leads to sows entering lactation in a severe catabolic state.  Secondly, the changes in amino acid requirement have important consequences. The magnitude of change in requirements makes it nearly impossible to satisfy the requirements using a single diet during gestation and the data show that the amino acid ratios change as pregnancy progresses and as sows age. Threonine and isoleucine requirements increased, relative to lysine, from early to late gestation while the tryptophan to lysine ratio showed little change. The threonine to lysine ratio was greater for both early and late gestation in the third vs. second parity. These changes in ideal amino acid ratios for sows are probably caused by the changing contributions of requirements for maintenance and maternal and fetal growth to total amino acid requirements. In terms of energy requirements, it can be expected that energy requirements increase as pregnancy progresses because of sow weight gain and because of the exponential growth of fetuses. The benefits of increasing feed allowance especially for young sows are not only the maintenance of sows’ body reserves before parturition, but also reduced backfat loss during lactation so that less feed may be needed in the next parity to enable the sows to regain body mass lost in lactation.

Isoleucine Requirement of Pregnant Sows

Posted in: Ontario Pork, Pork Insight Articles by PSCI on August 13, 2013 | No Comments

The objective of this study was to determine the Ile requirement in early (EG, 37 to 61 d) and late (LG, 89 to 109 d) gestation using the indicator amino acid oxidation method. Seven 4th parity sows were used in EG and LG. Each sow received 6 diets based on corn, corn starch and sugar in both EG and LG at constant ADFI of 2.5 kg/d. Diets in EG contained Ile at 20, 40, 60, 80, 100 and 120 % of the Ile requirement (6.2 g/d, NRC 1998) for sows of similar BW, expected maternal gain and litter size, and 60, 80, 100, 140, 160 and 180% in LG. The 13C background in expired CO2 and plasma free Phe was determined for 1.5 h. Sows were fed 2 mg/(kg BW·h) of L[1-13C]Phe over 4 h in 8 ½-hourly meals. Expired CO2 and plasma free Phe were analyzed for 13C enrichment above background. Requirements were determined as the breakpoint in 2-phase nonlinear models. Sow BW was 246.5 kg in EG and 271.6 kg in LG. ADG was similar in EG (344 g/d) and LG (543 g/d). Sow maternal gain was 19.1 ±4.4 kg and litters of 17.7 ± 0.75 piglets weighed 22.6 ± 0.87 kg at birth. Energy retention was similar in EG and LG, but the respiratory quotient decreased (P = 0.047) from EG (1.05) to LG (0.98) and decreased (P = 0.016) with increasing dietary Ile level, indicating lipid mobilization in LG when Ile was at or above the requirement. The increase in Ile requirement from EG to LG suggests that phase feeding during gestation is necessary. Diets for LG should contain more Ile and be fed at greater allowances than in EG to meet the sows’ demands for nutrients.

Tryptophan Requirement of Gestating Sows

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The objective of this study was to determine the Trp requirement in EG (d 35 to 53) and LG (92 to 111) using the indicator amino acid oxidation method. The same 6 second parity sows were studied in EG and in LG at a constant ADFI of 2.4 kg/d. Each sow received 6 diets based on corn, corn starch and sugar in both EG and LG at constant ADFI of 2.5 kg/d. Diets in EG contained Trp at 20, 40, 60, 80, 100 and 120 % of the Trp requirement (2.5 g/d) in EG, for sows of similar BW, maternal gain and litter size, and 60, 80, 100, 140, 160 and 180% in LG. The 13C background in expired CO2 and plasma free Phe was determined for 1.5 h. Sows were fed 2 mg/(kg BW·h) of L[1-13C]Phe over 4 h in 8 ½-hourly meals. Expired CO2 and plasma free Phe were analyzed for 13C enrichment above background. The Trp requirement of pregnant sows was 1.7 g/d (P = 0.001) in EG and 2.6 g/d (P = 0.016) in LG. Phe retention increased (P = 0.001) from EG to LG, and Phe oxidation (P = 0.029) and body protein breakdown (P = 0.017) decreased from EG to LG. Phe retention and oxidation responded quadratically (P = 0.038) to increasing Trp intake. The changes in Trp requirement and energy retention during gestation cannot be adequately met by increasing the feed allowance of a single diet throughout pregnancy. Therefore, phase feeding of 2 diets with different Trp contents is necessary to balance Trp and energy intake with the changing Trp and energy requirements in pregnancy.

Tryptophan Requirement of Young, Growing Sows During Pregnancy

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Accelerated conceptus growth in the last trimester may increase amino acid and energy requirements of pregnant sows. The objective of this study was to determine the Trp requirement in early (EG, d 35 to 53) and late (LG, d 92 to 111) gestation using the indicator amino acid oxidation (IAAO) method. Six 2nd parity sows received 6 diets each based on corn, corn starch and sugar in both EG and LG at a constant allowance of 2.4 kg/d. Diets in EG contained Trp at 20, 40, 60, 80, 100 and 120 % of the current Trp requirement (2.5 g/d) in EG and 60, 80, 100, 140, 160 and 180% in LG. Sows were fed 2 mg/(kg BW·h) of L[1-13C]Phe over 4 h in 8 ½-hourly meals. Requirements were determined as the breakpoint in IAAO using 2-phase nonlinear models. Sows, 167.7 kg (SE 3.93) at breeding, gained 44.3 kg (SE 3.63) during pregnancy and had litters of 14.5 piglets (SE 0.43) weighing 19.0 kg (SE 1.41). The Trp requirement was greater (P = 0.002) by 52% in LG (2.6 g/d) compared to EG (1.7 g/d). The increase (P = 0.001) in Phe retention from EG (2.94 g/d) to LG (8.28 g/d) agreed with a gain of 1 g/d N per fetus in LG and indicated that maternal protein gain was similar in EG and LG. Heat production was greater (P = 0.008) by 3% in LG compared to EG. Lipid retention decreased (P < 0.01) from EG to below zero in LG. Young sows strive to maintain fetal and maternal protein growth even if lipid retention becomes negative. This shows the importance of meeting amino acid requirements in late pregnancy.

Isoleucine Requirement for Maintenance in Sows

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The objective of this study was to determine the Ile requirement for maintenance using the indicator AA oxidation method. Each of six sows, non-pregnant after their 4th litter, received 6 diets based on corn, corn starch and sugar at a mean ADFI of 2.19 kg/d (SE 0.014). Diets were calculated to provide Ile at 10, 20, 30, 50, 60, and 70 mg/kg0.75 BW. Sows were confined in respiration chambers overnight before each oxidation study to determine fasting energy expenditure. The 13C background in expired CO2 was determined for 1.5 h. Sows were fed 2 mg/(kg BW·h) of L[1-13C]Phe over 4 h in 8 ½-hourly meals. Expired CO2 was analyzed for 13C enrichment above background. Requirements were determined as the breakpoint in indicator AA oxidation in 2-phase nonlinear models. Mean sow BW was 219 kg (SE 2.41). The ADG of -0.199 kg/d (SE 0.098) during the 18-d study was not different from zero (P = 0.10). The Ile requirement was 35 mg/d×kg0.75 (P= 0.001). Overall Phe retention was less than zero (-0.92 g/d, SE 0.125, P = 0.001) but not different from zero (P = 0.14) for Ile intake above the requirement at -0.53 g/d (SE 0.334). Fasting heat production was 19.3 MJ/d (SE 0.41) or 334 kJ/kg0.75 BW (SE 8.5). The mean of fasting and fed heat production was 31.8 MJ/d (SE 0.19) and energy retention was -0.14 MJ/d (SE 0.054), which was not different (P = 0.80) from zero. The fasting and fed respiratory quotient was 1.0 (SE 0.02) and 1.02 (SE 0.02), respectively. Because energy and protein retention were not different from zero, the determined value of 35 mg/d×kg0.75 therefore represents the Ile maintenance requirement. AA maintenance requirements are greater for modern pigs but their ratios remain similar.

 
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