Sorghum may be considered a suitable replacement for corn in nursery pig diets – but increasing sorghum DDGS in diets was observed to decrease feed intake.
This was the outcome of research at Kansas State University, United States, having tested two formulated diets on nursery pigs. In two experiments, the scientists aimed to figure out what the effects would be of adding sorghum distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) to corn- or sorghum-based diets on growth performance.
In the first experiment, 360 nursery barrows were used in a 34-day study. Pigs were allotted to one of eight dietary treatments, which were either sorghum or corn based, and with varying degrees of sorghum DDGS.
Overall, there were no differences among pigs fed sorghum- or corn-based diets for average daily gain and average daily feed intake; however, as sorghum DDGS increased from 0 to 45% of the diet, average daily gain decreased.
In the second experiment, 180 nursery pigs were used in a 21-day study. In this trial, pigs were either fed sorghum or corn based diets, supplemented with no DDGS, 30% corn DDGS or 30% sorghum DDGS.
Overall, there were no differences in average daily gain among pigs fed sorghum-or corn-based diets as well as no differences among pigs fed sorghum or corn DDGS. Pigs fed diets with 30% DDGS gained less than pigs fed basal diets.
The researchers had arrived at their diet formulations after having collected and analysed samples of sorghum DDGS to establish a nutrient database. They evaluated the quality and consistency between and within five ethanol plants in Kansas and Texas. In total 21 samples were analysed for amino acids, dry matter, crude protein, crude fibre, crude fat, ash, NDF, ADF, trace minerals, and starch.
The research is published in the Journal of Animal Science.