Small and frequent portions of feed are better for pigs, according to the Brazilian agricultural research corporation Embrapa Swine and Poultry. Their study compared pigs from growth to finish, with various feed amounts and frequencies.
Embrapa and agritech company Roboagro partmered for this study and used feeder robots to reveal that fractional feeding has a positive impact on technical indexes for pigs. It also saves costs for pig producers.
According to the study, how the feed is supplied to the pigs directly influences their performance and feed conversion. Feeding carried out in 4 daily portions showed superior results to the other treatments.
Following a logic similar to human food, pigs have different portions throughout the day. Pigs like their first and last portions larger than portions during the day. This approach resulted in better slaughter weight performance, daily weight gain, and feed conversion.
Embrapa researcher Osmar Dalla Costa explains that the team did tests on 2 farms. One of them caters to the internal market, with ractopamine supplementation. The other focuses on the external market, with animals without supplementation. “Although the results were better in the animals for the domestic market, we observed a significant increase in the weight of the pigs on the other farm”, he said.
Feeder robots were pivotal in the study because they can feed the animals in a precise and controlled process, avoiding waste and ensuring adequate nutrition. Roboagro, responsible for implementing the automated feeding system, points out that the improvement in feed conversion provides significant savings. According to Giovani Molin, CEO at Roboagro, pig farmers can save up to 3 euros per animal.