Preliminary results from a trial in Australia are showing that blend feeding can lower feed costs without affecting growth performance in pigs. The trial was conducted at the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) Medina Research Centre using a Feedlogic FEEDPro system and was funded by the Pork Cooperative Research Centre (CRC).
The research, led by Karen Moore, Roland Nicholls and Bruce Mullan, all of DAFWA, compared pigs fed a two-diet blend to standard stepped diets and a single diet strategy. “Traditionally, pigs are fed three to four diets in the grower and finisher phase,” according to the trial researchers. “But we know that the pig’s requirements for nutrients are constantly changing as they grow. So the pig is frequently fed a diet supplying excess nutrients, which means extra cost for no return.”
Trial pigs were fed from 9 weeks of age to 19 weeks of age. The blend treatment was a combination of two diets altered frequently to closely match the pigs’ required lysine to energy ratio at each stage of growth. The stepped treatment used three diets formulated to a standard three-phase program. The single treatment was formulated to be below the pigs’ requirements for half of the 10 weeks and above the requirements for the remaining half.
Preliminary results to 19 weeks of age suggest that both blend feeding and feeding a single diet reduced feed costs by an average of AU$3.30 per pig compared to the conventional diet, with no impact on growth performance. Further details, including full implications on carcass value, feed costs and changes in feed conversion over time will be available soon.
The Western Australian system is one of two Feedlogic systems purchased by Pork CRC, the other installed in a finisher facility owned by CHM Alliance in Pittsworth, Queensland. According to Pork CRC CEO Dr Roger Campbell, the Feedlogic systems are playing a key role in the nutrition research being conducted as part of the 6-year Pork CRC program.