Swine Innovation

 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:

Reducing Costs Feeding Canola Meal

Posted in: Press Releases, Swine Innovation by admin on November 21, 2012 | No Comments

When feed exceeds 72% of pork production cost, it forces us to explore ways to reduce feed costs beyond desperation. Recent work funded through the Canola Cluster led by Eduardo Beltranena at Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development explored opportunities for reducing feed cost feeding conventional solvent-extracted canola meal at unusually high inclusions. “We went beyond producers’ comfort level” says Beltranena.

In the past, canola meal was fed at conservative levels due to palatability issues that reduced feed intake. Over the last 30 years plant breeders have bred canola varieties containing progressively lower levels of glucosinolates. Canola meal produced today typically tests 5 to 6 instead of 30 µmol/g before that was the threshold to call it ‘canola’ instead of ‘rapeseed’. “We have tested loads as low as 2” says Eduardo. “The bitter taste imparted by glucosinolates is no longer a palatability concern even at today’s high canola meal inclusion in pig and poultry diets”.

The other issue feeding canola meal to pigs is a relative high fibre content that limits its dietary energy value. “We now formulate diets on net energy instead of metabolizable or digestible energy basis. We better account now for the increase in heat production resulting from feeding increasing inclusion of high protein, high fibrous feedstuffs like canola meal, distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) or millrun. We blamed the ingredient instead of the energy system before for the drop in growth performance due to incremental inclusions. Now formulating diets on net energy basis results in more predictable growth”. We have proven so in 3 recent studies feeding high inclusions of solvent-extracted canola meal:

In the first study, we fed increasing inclusions of canola meal in substitution for soybean meal to weaned pigs. Feeding up to 20% canola meal did not affect daily feed disappearance, weight gain, and final trial pig weight. Weaned pigs showed a tendency for reduced feed efficiency due to increasing fibre content.

A second experiment involving 1,100 hogs examined increasing inclusion of canola meal (0 – 24%) in growout diets containing 15% DDGS. Hogs fed 24% canola meal reached market weight only 3 days later than controls, with no impact on carcass weight, dressing percent, backfat, loin depth, pork yield or index.

A third commercial-scale trial with 1,100 hogs pushed canola meal inclusion further to 30% with 20% DDGS. Feed disappearance and weigh gain were reduced by 81 g/day and 9 g/day for every 10% increase in canola meal inclusion. Number of days to market weight increased by 1, carcass weight was reduced by 0.46kg, dressing percent dropped 0.4 points, and loin depth was reduced by 0.5 mm for every 10% increase in canola meal inclusion. However, hogs consumed up to 50% local coproducts instead of imported soybean meal without major reductions on hog growth performance or carcass traits.

Benefit to the Producer

It is thus feasible feeding up to 20% solvent-extracted canola meal to weaned pigs and 30% with 20% wheat DDGS in commercial hog diets formulated on net energy and digestible amino acid basis. Canola and DDGS inclusion rates will fluctuate with commodity cost and should be routinely optimized by least cost formulation. Feeding these fibrous coproducts increases gut weight at evisceration. Producers thus need to market hogs 1 – 2kg heavier live weight to achieve target carcass weight.

Feeding Sows More Efficiently

Posted in: Swine Innovation, Uncategorized by admin on November 5, 2012 | No Comments

When someone mentions feed costs, thoughts typically gravitate towards what is happening in the fi nishing barn, simply due to the influence it has on the cost of production. If we take a look at feeding the breeding herd for a moment, what are some of those things producers can implement to reduce feed costs, while maintain or increasing sow productivity?

Oilseed Co-Products as Alternative Ingredients

Posted in: Nutrition, Pork Insight Articles, Swine Innovation by admin on November 2, 2012 | No Comments

Who can afford to feed fat(s) to pigs now-a-days?  With feed tallow, grease blends, and canola oil prices at record highs, oilseed and bio-diesel co-products offer an alternative to supplementing dietary fats in swine diets.  Cost per Mcal of residual oil content has changed our paradigm from considering canola as a traditional supplemental protein source to a novel dietary energy source.  Expeller pressed, extruded pressed or screw-pressed canola meal or cake, the latter two processed locally, offer opportunities to reduce producers’ feed cost and beef up dietary energy.

Abreuvoirs économiseurs d’eau pour porcs en engraissement – Comparaison de la consommation d’eau et des performances zootechniques de différents types d’abreuvoirs utilisés au Québec

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Swine Innovation by admin on September 25, 2012 | No Comments

L’objectif principal du projet vise à évaluer et à comparer la consommation d’eau et les performances zootechniques de porcs en engraissement abreuvés par différents types d’abreuvoirs économiseurs d’eau.

  •   Mesurer et comparer la quantité d’eau consommée quotidiennement pour quatre modèles différents d’abreuvoirs utilisés fréquemment au Québec en engraissement;
  •   Comparer les impacts des différents abreuvoirs sur les performances zootechniques;
  •   Évaluer et comparer les impacts environnementaux de différents modèles d’abreuvoirs, dans l’optique de réduire le gaspillage d’eau;
  •   Comparer les impacts économiques des différents abreuvoirs.
Évaluer différentes stratégies de contrôle de température ambiante en engraissement porcin en vue d’optimiser les performances zootechniques et de réduire la consommation d’énergie et les émissions gazeuses

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Proposer une stratégie de contrôle de la température optimale dans les engraissements porcins dans un contexte d’agriculture durable et de bien-être des animaux

  • Évaluer l’impact de trois différentes stratégies de contrôle de la température ambiante sur les performances zootechniques des porcs;
  • Effectuer et comparer le bilan énergétique (consommation d’énergie) entourant le besoin de chauffage durant les périodes froides pour chacune des stratégies testées;
  • Évaluer l’impact des stratégies de contrôle de la température ambiante sur les concentrations et les émissions de gaz;
  • Évaluer l’impact des stratégies de contrôle sur la qualité de la carcasse;
  • Calculer les impacts économiques des stratégies de contrôle et indiquer les impacts sur le coût de production;
  • Déterminer la stratégie optimale en regard des paramètres étudiées;
  • Diffuser les résultats auprès des conseillers, intervenants et producteurs.
Développer des concepts de ventilation permettant de minimiser les débits d’air requis durant la période estivale en maternité et en engraissement

Posted in: French Articles, Swine Innovation by admin on | No Comments

Développer et tester des concepts de ventilation en maternité et en engraissement afin de minimiser les débits d’air requis durant les périodes chaudes sans affecter les performances zootechniques et le bien-être des animaux. Au final, le but est de réduire les coûts liés à l’implantation de systèmes de filtration d’air à l’intérieur de bâtiments porcins de type naisseur et naisseur-finisseur

  •   Concevoir et évaluer l’efficacité de différents concepts de ventilation permettant d’optimiser les débits d’air et le refroidissement des porcs durant la saison chaude;
  •   Évaluer l’impact des différents concepts de ventilation à débit d’air réduit durant les périodes chaudes en maternité et en engraissement sur :
  •   Les paramètres d’ambiance (température, humidité et vitesse d’air) dans les bâtiments;
  •   Les performances zootechniques et le bien-être des animaux;
  •   Les coûts liés à l’implantation de système de filtration de l’air;
  •   Les coûts liés à l’implantation des systèmes de ventilation;
  •   La consommation d’énergie;
  •   La consommation d’eau liée au fonctionnement de systèmes de refroidissement.
Breakthroughs in Canadian Swine Nutrition

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Swine Innovation, Uncategorized by admin on September 19, 2012 | No Comments

Precision livestock farming is an innovative production system approach, which is based on intensive and integrated use of advances in animal sciences and in the new technologies of information and communication (Berckmans 2004). Its main objective is to optimize animal production and the management of the productive processes (Groot Koerkamp et al. 2007). Today, this approach offers many opportunities, such as the increased feed efficiency that can be obtained by reducing uncertainty in decisions relating the control of the variability that exists among farm animals (Wathes et al. 2008). A relevant contribution in this regard of precision pig farming is the development of precision feeding systems (Niemi et al. 2010; Pomar et al. 2009) which lays the groundwork for addressing key issues in today intensive livestock farming which are: (1) reducing feeding cost by improving feed and nutrient efficiency (2) improving production system sustainability by increasing profitability and reducing production footprints and (3) increasing food safety through traceability. This paper presents key elements for the development of sustainable precision livestock farming and a vision for the future of the Canadian swine industry.

Feeding rather simple, corn and soybean meal based diets to nursery pigs reduced post-weaning growth performance, but had no long-term effect on growth performance in the growing-finishing phase, days from weaning to market and carcass characteristics. Therefore, a reduction in feed costs may be obtained in the nursery phase by feeding less complex diets without compromising subsequent growth performance and carcass value.

Detailed nutritional analyses and in vitro nutrient digestibility and availability assays confirm the substantial variability in nutritional value of corn distillers grains plus solubles (DDGS) that are used in Ontario.  While color provides a reasonable prediction of the nutritional value of individual sample of DDGS, especially the available lysine content, this simple measurement has limitations. Given the relatively high fiber content of DDGS, fiber-degrading enzymes and microbial inoculants may be used to enhance the nutritional value of corn DDGS.  The combined use of exogenous enzymes and inoculants appears more effective at enhancing the feeding value of corn DDGS in liquid-fed finishing pigs than in conventional dry feeding.

This topic is broad. Therefore, the emphasis is on parts of the program funded by the Canadian Swine and Research Development Cluster and industry partners that is focussed on changes in diet formulation that: 1)  alter the profile of feedstuffs to less grain and more co-products from processing of crops or 2) alter the profile of dietary carbohydrates (starch and fibre). These two parts are linked: the changes in feedstuffs by default will change dietary profile of carbohydrates to more fibre and less starch. Dietary feedstuffs play an important role in feed costs and thus competitiveness. Functional characteristics of carbohydrates, digestion patterns of starch and fermentation patterns of fibre, play an important role in value-added attributes such microbial profile in the gut and thus intestine health; however, such characteristics are not used widely yet in feed formulation.

The fate of dietary phosphorus in the digestive tract of growing pigs and broilers

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Swine Innovation by admin on August 9, 2012 | No Comments

It is crucial to understand the requirements and availability of dietary phosphorus to be able to limit its use. There are big environmental and economically reasons to reduce the use of dietary P but it must be done while not impacting growth. As a prerequisite to understanding dietary P one should understand the fate of ingested P, its interaction with dietary calcium, and exogenous phytase supply. Understanding these criteria researchers were able to build a mathematical model based on in vitro and in vivo literature data. The model has 3 sections which successfully occur: 1. P solubilisation and phytic P hydrolysis, 2. P absorption and 3. P insolubilisation. To better understand key factors of P utilization parameterisation of equations was used in both pigs and chickens. Sensitivity analysis indicated that P solubilisation/insolubilisation and especially phytic P solubilisation prior to hydrolysis by phytase were sensitive to pH and dietary Ca supply. Behavioral analysis found that the model was able to predict the lower plant phytase in both pigs and chickens. The model correctly predicted apparent digestibility in pigs. The model offers the potential to be combined with a metabolic model that integrates regulation of P and Ca metabolism.


Euthanasia Alternatives

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Swine Innovation by admin on July 31, 2012 | No Comments

Euthanasia is essential for overall herd health and production costs, as unhealthy and unprofitable pigs are removed from the herd. For young pigs, blunt force trauma is the method most commonly used through-out the industry. Blunt force trauma is effective and in compliance with regulations, but it is not very pleasing aesthetically. A more visually pleasing alternative to blunt force trauma is a zephyr gun, which is a modified air gun that rapidly fires two 9mm depressions on the pigs head, rendering them insensible. The zephyr gun has been proven to be affective and can be used on pigs up to 9kgs (20lbs) where blunt force trauma is only acceptable up to 12lbs. The Zephyr is considered an effective euthanasia method which may be preferable to blunt force trauma for euthanasia of piglets.

Towards Integration Nutritional Management of Growing-Finishing Pigs

Posted in: Pork Insight Articles, Swine Innovation by admin on July 26, 2012 | No Comments

The University of Guelph has compiled research to improve nutritional management in growing-finishing pigs. The objectives of there research include improving efficiency/profitability of pork production, improve pork quality and safety, minimize environmental impact, and reduce reliance on in-feed medication. With these objectives as guides, research updates are provided for three projects: The first being Long-term impact of post-weaning feeding programs. There are opposing views on post-weaning feeding programs, one view argues strong growth post-weaning leads to strong growth thereafter, while the other view believes a poor diet and growth post-weaning will lead to compensatory growth resulting in the same outcome with lower feed costs. The research attempts to evaluate the effects of a complex diet and in-feed antibiotics versus a simple diet on nursery pigs and how it impacts grow-finish growth performance and carcass quality. Pigs were put on either a simple or complex diet, and tracked through their barn cycle. Results found that reduced gain in the nursery due to reduced diet complexity or feeding antibiotics did not effect days from weaning to market, gain to feed ratio from weaning to market, or carcass composition. The second project that is reported on is Variability of (Ontario) DDGs. Researchers attempt to assess the variability in nutrient characteristics of DDGS and to identify predictors of nutritional value. Twelve samples from each of seven sources were used. Results found that there was a large difference between and within processing plant differences, also conventional amino acid analyses overestimate reactive lysine by about 17%. The third project Decision Support System to evaluate the environmental & financial impacts of alternative management strategies attempts to identify and implement an optimum management strategy by further developing the pig growth model developed by the International Pig Growth Modelling Group, lead the development of models for “Nutrient requirements of swine” and explore aspects of nutrient utilization.

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