By Bruce Cochrane
The chair of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences with the University of Alberta says a national research effort is allowing scientists from across Canada to collaborate on ways to improve feeding programs for growing-finishing pigs that will enhance global competitiveness opportunities.
As part of a national research effort being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc researchers with the Universities of Sherbrooke, Laval, Guelph, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre, and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development are collaborating on a national feeding program for growing-finishing pigs to enhance global competitiveness opportunities across Canada.
Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra, a professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences with the University of Alberta, explains the program contains 4 components.
Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra-University of Alberta:
The first one is that we will continue to identify new novel ingredients or ways to use ingredients in a better way so that we allow the pigs to extract as many nutrients as possible from feedstuffs or the complete feed.
The second component is precision feeding, so how can we better match the feed that we provide to the nutrient requirements of the pig.
The third component is modeling of group housed pigs, how can we better let them meet their requirements.
The final component is actually some practical validation.
In other words, we will find out some new and novel things from items 1 to 3 but then, still in the end, we want to apply that new feeding technology and let the pigs decide how they feel about those new findings.
Dr. Zijlstra says this collaborative approach offers an opportunity to go Canada wide and involve researchers from many institutions in coming up with new and novel ways to improve feeding programs.
He notes it’s a five year time window and it is just past the two year mark.