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:

Exploring Opportunities in Using Alternative Feedstuffs

Posted in: Nutrition, Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre by PSCI on July 10, 2017 | No Comments

The current market prices of pigs and protein sources have forced the pork industry to explore ways to reduce feed costs while maintaining swine performance. Inclusion of opportunity ingredients that are normally not considered for diet formulation may be one such method. Some opportunity ingredients and their proper inclusion into swine diets will be discussed in the following paper.

Meat and bone meal: This ingredient is fairly low cost making it a suitable replacement for soybean meal. However the use of animal byproducts is controversial and depending on its source meat and bone meal can have a wide variety of nutrient levels. To avoid reductions in growth and performance this can only be included for around 5-7.5% in the diet.

Field peas: The DE content of field peas is difficult to predict making it hard to incorporate into diets however they are high in protein and energy content, this combined with high palatability makes them worthwhile for inclusion in swine diets.

Lentils: The optimum inclusion rate of lentils has not been determined thoroughly; however, one trial indicated that diets containing 40% ground lentils supported similar growth to a soybean meal-based diet and some western Canadian research indicated that 30% lentils could be included in diets fed to grower-finisher pigs without hampering pig performance. The protein content of lentils is on average slightly higher than in field peas. Similar to other legume seeds, lentils have a low sulphur amino acid content, and care must be taken during diet formulation to ensure that enough methionine in the right ratio to cystine is provided in the diet.

Corn DDGS: Corn DOGS has a similar DE content than the originating corn. Corn DOGS is especially high in oil content, and the main reason for upper inclusion levels for corn DOGS in diets for grower finisher pigs to prevent reductions in carcass quality and growth performance. Pellet quality may also be reduced following inclusion of corn DOGS, especially in corn diets. Samples from corn DOGS should be analyzed carefully for colour. A yellow colour is indicative of proper drying whereas a dark brown colour is indicative of excessive heat during drying and therefore reduced availability of enclosed nutrients for swine.


The effect of the Ca: total phosphorus ratio on the efficacy of supplemental phytase in the diets of weanling swine – monograph

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Phytase (500 FTU/kg) addition to com-soymeal diets fed to weanling pigs increased P digestibility from 42 to 53 %. Moreover, the excretion of soluble inorganic P in the faeces, whether expressed in g/d or as a proportion of total P intake was decreased with the addition of 500 FfU phytase to the diet. The efficacy of phytase was decreased as the Ca:tP ratio increased from 1.12 to 2.31. Adding phytase to a swine diet decreases output of total P in the manure. If the diet is formulated to account for the increased available P due to the phytase (ie. reduced tP) then the excretion of water soluble phytase in the manure will decrease similar to the reduction in tP excreted.

The effect of Ca- total phosphorus ratio on the efficacy of supplemental phytase in the diets of weanling swine

Potential of Cereal By-Products from Ethanol Production as Feed Ingredients for Swine Production -Monograph

Posted in: Nutrition, Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Prairie Swine Centre old by PSCI on July 7, 2017 | No Comments

With the tremendous growth of the ethanol industry, more and more by-products – namely, distiller’s grains and thin stillage (DDGS) are available for livestock rations. The nutritional value of dried wheat distiller’s grain for grower-finisher pigs was prior to start of the project unknown, especially the value of wheat DDGS produced in western Canada.

The main objectives for a series of experiment were to: a) characterize the nutritional value of wheat-based DDGS, b) to determine the impact on nutrient excretion, c) optimize feed strategies, and 4) to detect impact on carcass quality. Therefore, to study this feedstuff, the project was initiated with a digestibility experiment with cannulated grower-finisher pigs fed one wheat control diet and 3 dried distiller’s grain diets (corn, corn and wheat, and wheat distiller’s grain). Ingredient, feed, faeces, and digesta samples were collected and were analyzed to determine DE, digestible amino acid, and digestible phosphorus content for the three DDGS samples. This first project indicated in total that wheat DDGS can be used as a feedstuff for swine, but has a lower nutritional value than the parent wheat. However, feeding of wheat DDGS, in particular poor quality wheat DDGS might reduce voluntary feed intake. Feeding of wheat DDGS will increase N excretion, and may reduce P excretion, due to high P digestibility due to degradation of phytate. As such feed wheat DDGS to nursery and grower-finisher pigs may have to be limited to 10 to 20%, for poor quality wheat DDGS, whereas wheat DDGS might be fed up to 30% in finisher pigs, if a good or excellent quality. If proper diet formulation is used (NE and SID AA content), impact on carcass quality is limited but dressing percentage will be reduced by 1 to 2% due to a higher weight of the gastro-intestinal tract due to the additional fibre in the diet.. In a series of follow-up experiments, supplemental enzymes were studied to alleviate the reduced nutrient digestibility and voluntary feed intake; however, supplemental enzymes proved less effective than expected. In collaborative project, effects of feed processing especially extrusion technology have been studied. In conclusion, wheat-based DDGS can be added to feedstuffs databases for feed formulation for swine.

DOC (8)

On-Farm Feed Milling-Gearing up for compliance in the 21st century

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This lectures discusses the foundations of good management practices in order to comply with the new regulations set out by the CFIA.

Receiving: Describe how each type of commodity is received to minimize unsafe contamination.

Storage & distribution equipment: Bulk bins, warehouse containers and tanks should be properly identified and clean. Conveyors, augers, legs, head distributors, etc. should be free of build-ups. Use of ingredients should preferably be first-in, first-out.

Weighing & mixing: All scales used should be standardized routinely using reference weights and cleaned at least weekly. Calibration should be performed based on a schedule by a qualified contractor.

Maintenance: Prepare a schedule of preventive maintenance, including the feed truck, and a log to attest that this is being performed.

Premises: Describe the keeping of the building, warehouse and grounds. Describe the waste disposal and its operation.

Sanitation & pest control: Prepare a schedule detailing what should be cleaned and when. Complete a log to prove that you are doing it. Draw a sketch where mice traps are located and record trapping rates.

Recalls: Pre-assess the risk to humans and animals and have a notification plan in place.

Training: New staff requires a quick GMPs orientation. Recurring training should be provided involving those that might be called upon when someone is absent or sick.

Manufacturing documentation:

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points
HACCP is a one-time analysis with minor re-evaluation from time to time. In preparing a HACCP plan for your on-farm feed mill, take the following guiding steps:

Identify potential hazards: The first step is to identify potential hazards to humans and animals. These include biological and chemical hazards.

Evaluate each process step: Consider potential hazards that exist or may develop at each step in the manufacturing process. Establish critical control points, where the loss of control may evolve into a health risk.

Targets & tolerances: Set target levels for drug residue, micro organisms and other contaminants.

Monitoring: Screen suppliers, set delivery specifications, ask for certifications, emphasize that you are producing food not just raising hogs! How often should we test mixed feeds and how to interpret the lab results?

Corrective actions: If you sporadically lose control, plan how would you deal with non-complying product. Document the cause of the problem and what you did about it.

Verifying: Evaluate your plan from time to time and if changes have occurred, improve procedures. Invite outsiders to criticize your HACCP plan and catch the obvious that you missed. Have them over several times before you request a CFIA inspector(s) pursuing licensing

On-Farm Feed Milling-Gearing up for compliance in the 21st century

Factors Driving the Improvement of Average Daily Gain

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At its simplest, growth rate is affected by two factors, namely feed intake and the efficiency with which that feed is utilized for growth. Assuming feed efficiency remains constant, increasing feed intake will increase growth rate; conversely, if feed intake remains the same, improving feed efficiency will improve growth rate. A multitude of intrinsic and extrinsic factors affect growth in the pig. It is only by addressing each, individually and as a whole, that animal growth can be optimized. What is clear is that pork production, while achieving extraordinary gains in the past 4 decades, has yet to fully utilize the tremendous genetic potential of the pig. This is apparent by the variation in performance which occurs among groups of pigs within a barn, and by the diversity of results experienced among producers. It is equally clear that the financial returns which will accrue from achieving higher levels of performance are substantive.


Factors Driving the Improvement of Average Daily Gain

Nutritive Value of Lentils in Pigs – Monograph

Posted in: Nutrition, Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre by PSCI on July 6, 2017 | No Comments

Research conclusions

1. As an ingredient containing, on average, 41% of starch and 27% of crude protein, lentils are appropriate for swine nutrition
2. Lentils provide 3, 71 S kcal of digestible energy per kg dry matter, which is comparable to the energy provided by fababeans and slightly lower than that provided by field peas
3. Lentil proteins have a high lysine content, comparable to that of soybean meal, and in threonine but are deficient in sulphur .containing amino acids and in tryptophan
4. The freezing oflentils has no effect on their digestible energy value in pigs but adversely affects the apparent ileal digestibility of their amino acids
5. Due to its low apparent digestibility, threonine might also be a limiting amino
6. Pigs can tolerate at least 30% oflentils in their diets

Nutritive value of lentils in pigs

Field peas for pigs – Monograph

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The overall objective of the project is to generate reliable information on the nutritional value of field peas in pigs and on the effect of processing, in order to demonstrate to pork and feed producers that field peas of varying quality support excellent performance in starter and growing/finishing pigs.

Researchers concluded that the contents in crude protein and starch, the two main components of pea seeds, of the samples collected from farms of Saskatchewan, are quite variable and justify further studies aiming to establish a relationship between composition and energy value. They hypothesize that most of the energy value can be explained by the dietary fibre content but more information is required, namely in terms of non-starch polysaccharides, and also of physical properties of the dietary fibre fraction.

Field peas for pigs


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The application of manure nutrients to cropland in an environmentally acceptable manner is an essential component of future agricultuml production worldwide. Manure nutrients applied at rates that match crop nutrient requirements are the basis of manure management programs, which maximize nutrient uptake
and minimize the potential for ground and surface water pollution. To achieve this requires knowledge of the nutrient content of the manure and the ability to apply manure accurately at rates that meet but do not exceed crop needs. In addition to the nutrient content of manure, the physical and flow properties of the material can help predict material-machine interactions, affecting the performance and efficiency of the equipment. Improved handling and land application technologies will make the management of different forms of solid and semi-solid manure in large quantities a more technologically and economically interesting alternative for both livestock and field crop producers.



Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Prairie Swine Centre, Production, Welfare by PSCI on | No Comments

On the basis of these experiments, forming grower-finisher pigs into group sizes of up to 108 pigs/pen does not appear to have any detrimental effects on overall performances. Commonly held fears of increased levels of aggression and behavioural vices with increasing group sizes were not substantiated in our experiments. Housing pigs up to 108 pigs with adequate resources appears to have only minor effects on productivity and social behaviour of grower-finisher pigs.



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Four pig farms were studied to assess the barn workers’ exposure to hydrogen sulphide (H2S) while pulling pit plugs and power-washing production rooms. Results indicated that plug pulling generated high concentrations of H2S reaching 1,000 ppm in some cases. All the farms studied had plug pulling events that exceeded limits defined by the Occupational and Safety Regulations of Saskatchewan. The H2S released when a plug was pulled did not follow a predictable pattern over time and within the room space. Power washing generated lower H2S concentrations than plug pulling but workers were exposed for a longer time period. Based on this study, swine barn workers may be exposed to H2S concentrations that exceed acceptable limits when pulling pit plugs and power-washing rooms. Personal monitors should be provided to all barn workers and training and standard operating procedures are needed so workers can learn how to deal with routine operations and emergency situations when high H2S concentrations are generated .


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