The National Swine Nutrition Guide: mission accomplished

17-05-2010 | |
Dr Ioannis Mavromichalis International consulting nutritionist, Ariston Nutrition, Madrid, Spain
The National Swine Nutrition Guide: mission accomplished

In 2010, a new form of publication has come to join an already impressive list of reference material. The National Swine Nutrition Guide is an excellent example of ‘mission accomplished’!

In 2010, a new form of publication has come to join an already impressive list of reference material. With a publication title such as the ‘National Swine Nutrition Guide’, it is evident that it aims high to combine together all such practical information (below the level of the National Research Council publication) into one comprehensive guide.

One more nutrition guide
When it was first announced in late 2009, many expected one more nutrition guide along the lines of those published by the few remaining extension services. But, we were to be happily disappointed!

The National Swine Nutrition Guide, or NSNG, is a massive piece of work. With over 350 pages of content and more than 40 contributing authors and reviewers, it is indeed a national work encompassing a wide base of knowledge providing in-depth information and practical guidelines for all interested parties.

From researchers to nutritionists to producers, there is a part in the NSNG that interests all.

Herculean effort
The guide is divided in 32 chapters, or fact sheets, with each chapter being several pages long. Each chapter is written by leading experts on the subject and it is also reviewed by equally well versed professionals, often from the industry providing a more wide coverage.

All major universities active in swine nutrition research are represented and authors range from recently hired professionals having the edge of knowledge to well-established names giving more depth and authority.

Web presence
In contrast to most previous publications, this guide is also available on the internet. Each chapter can be easily downloaded in a PDF format. It can be found at the website of the US Pork Center of Excellence.

And, the best part of it, it is free of charge to all, courtesy of the US Pork Center of Excellence. This organisation was established in 2005 to bring about a higher level of cooperation and collaboration among universities, the pig production industry, and government.

The NSNG is an excellent example of ‘mission accomplished’!

Formulation software
Quite unique in its approach, the NSNG also includes software to formulate simple diets for all classes of pigs. The NSNG Diet©Formulation and Evaluation CD©performs two distinct functions. First, it allows formulation swine diets on a least-cost basis.

Second, it allows evaluation of existing diets for nutritional adequacy. These functions can be applied to diets for sows, breeding boars, nursery pigs, growing/finishing pigs, and replacement gilts and boars. A separate review of this software will appear on

Example fact sheets
With such wide reach, it would be impractical to cover here each single chapter of the guide. A more detailed review can be found in the magazine Pig Progress, Vol. 26.04. Chapters on ‘trace mineral and vitamins for swine diets’, ‘nursery swine nutrient recommendations and feeding management’, ‘example diets for swine’ and ‘feeding systems for swine’ are discussed there.

Source of information
Like each publication, there are positive and negative aspects in the NSNG. Any nutritionist, especially one trying to review this massive work, can easily fall in the trap of looking for the negative parts, but this would be like trying to see the tree and missing the forest.

What is important is that the NSNG is an excellent source of information and anyone who reads or consults it will not be left wanting. At the end, it should be kept in mind that this is intended to be a ‘guide’, and as such it can never provide the definitive answer (and clearly the NSNG does not try to do this) to each and every problem we face daily on the field. But, taken as a ‘guide’, the NSNG does an exemplary job.