The British Pig Executive (BPEX) has suggested the use of alternative feeds to keep the costs associated with the increasing number of cull sows down.
Alternative feeds such as potatoes, carrots, sugar beet, silage and fodder beet can be fed to the animals, but for the same nutritional value as concentrates, larger amounts of these feeds must be used. For example, 6kg of potatoes is equivalent in nutritional value to 1kg of concentrates.
In addition, these feeds are bulky; so to get the optimal balance it has been suggested to use concentrates at the beginning of the day and potatoes at the end. According to BPEX Knowledge Transfer Manager Angela Cliff, “this can ensure that the sows are getting the correct amount of vitamins and minerals and it can ease the burden of feeding cull sows.”
Members of the BPEX KT Team can be contacted for a copy of a handbook detailing the nutritional value of alternative feeds by Prof Sandra Edwards of Newcastle University.