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Characterization of Feed Ingredients Provides Nutritionists Flexibility in Ration Formulation

Research underway at the University of Alberta is providing the nutritional information that will allow a greater level of flexibility in selecting feed ingredients for inclusion in swine rations.

Scientists at the University of Alberta with funding from Swine Innovation Porc and Alberta Pork are characterizing the nutritional profiles of cereal and pulse crops for inclusion in swine rations and evaluating methods to improve those profiles.

Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra, a professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science with the University of Alberta, says accurate nutritional profiles of ingredients allow a much higher level of flexibility in formulating rations.

Clip-Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra-University of Alberta:

It's actually very important that we can change the ingredients in and out of a diet formulation while maintaining performance.Historically that has always been perceived to be a risk so people tended to be very careful, particularly when they would introduce new ingredients into pigs’ diets.

They would be very careful about including those new ingredients in swine diets so researchers have an important job. We need to raise that comfort level so when the need or opportunity is there to introduce a new feedstuff, we have characterized them using research in pigs.

When we have characterized those ingredients properly the nutritionists and the pig producer should be much more comfortable in bringing those new feedstuffs into diet formulations.

The way we go about that is by using, on the energy side, the net energy system and, on the protein side, digestible amino acids and characterize ingredients properly for those two variables.

If we do a good job on that, the risk of introducing new ingredients or changing the inclusion levels of those ingredients in the diets drastically goes down.

Dr  Zijlstra notes feedstuffs change over time so it's also important to analyse new batches of cereal and pulse crops regularly to ensure characterizations are up to date.

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