Air and nutrient emissions from swine operations raise environmental concerns. During the reproduction phase, sows consume and excrete large quantities of nutrients. The objective of this study was to develop a mathematical model to describe energy and nutrient partitioning and predict manure excretion and composition and methane emissions on a daily basis.
The model was structured to contain gestation and lactation modules, which can be run separately or sequentially, with outputs from the gestation module used as inputs to the lactation module. In the gestating module, energy and protein requirements for maintenance, and fetal and maternal growth were described. In the lactating module, a factorial approach was used to estimate requirements for maintenance, milk production, and maternal growth.
The priority for nutrient partitioning was assumed to be in the order of maintenance, milk production, and maternal growth with body tissue losses constrained within biological limits. Global sensitivity analysis showed that nonlinearity in the parameters was small. The model outputs considered were the total protein and fat deposition, average urinary and fecal N excretion, average methane emission, manure carbon excretion, and manure production.
The model was evaluated using independent data sets from the literature using root mean square prediction error (RMSPE) and concordance correlation coefficients. The gestation module predicted body fat gain better than body protein gain, which was related to predictions of body fat and protein loss from the lactation model. Nitrogen intake, urine N, fecal N, and milk N were predicted with RMSPE as percentage of observed mean of 9.7, 17.9, 10.0, and 7.7%, respectively. The model provided a framework, but more refinements and improvements in accuracy of prediction (particularly urine N) are required before the model can be used to assess environmental mitigation options from sow operations.