Producers can profit from minimizing the amount of fibre consumed by their hogs as they reach their market weight, says an extension swine specialist with Kansas State University.
With feed representing 80 per cent of the costs associated with pork production, it is crucial for producers to properly balance the amount of fibre in their animals’ diets, Dr. Joel DeRouchey wrote in a Farmscape article today.
This change in diet is beneficial for carcass weights because fibre is less digestible than other feedstuffs, DeRouchey told Farms.com.
“Fibre … has an ability to hold more moisture as it passes through the digestive system. Thus, a larger amount of manure is present in the large intestine in pigs fed higher fiber ingredients than a corn-soybean based diet, as example,” he said.
“In the cases where producers are targeting a live weight off the farm, and if feeding higher fiber diet until marketing, carcass weight could be disappointing as more actual weight is lost when then intestines are removed from the pig at harvest.”
Feed with elevated levels of fibre that is fed to swine as they approach their market weight creates a larger gut fill, DeRouchey explained in the article.
“If we feed those at a higher level … they inherently are going to have a lower yield because that extra fibre creates a larger gut fill, a heavier waste stream in the intestines and that weight is simply lost once those animals are harvested,” he said.
Producers may implement a high fibre ingredient withdraw strategy in the remaining two to three weeks of the pigs’ cycle, DeRouchey wrote.
“I would say that practice has really been adopted over the last five years … that has not been a historical way of formulating diets, but, as we've come with new information and discovered the impact, we find that very routinely.”
In terms of carcass quality, criteria are divided into different areas, DeRouchey wrote.
“Some will refer to carcass quality as the meat quality, the carcass traits of leanness, marbling, colour, those types of aspects, (but) we can also look at carcass quality really defined as how much carcass is there relative to weight such as the yield.”
"Feeding Programs to Optimize Feed Efficiency and Carcass Quality of Grow Finish Pigs" was discussed last week as part of the 2019 Banff Pork Seminar.
National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff photo, Des Moines, IA, USA photo