By Bruce Cochrane
Researchers with the Prairie Swine Centre are exploring the benefits of including soluble fibre in the diets of sows to improve the productivity of her piglets.
On behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, scientists with the Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Prairie Swine Centre and the University of Saskatchewan, are working to increase sow milk yield and piglet growth through the use of low-cost feeding and management strategies.
Dr. Denise Beaulieu, a research scientist nutrition with the Prairie Swine Centre, explains scientists are looking at feeding strategies that will stimulate mammary development and improve the conditioning of the sow.
Dr. Denise Beaulieu-Prairie Swine Centre:
I'm specifically looking at the idea in gestation where we limit feed the sow during gestation because if we give her all the food she wants she'll get too fat and have problems with farrowing and with the piglet development.
Because we are moving to group housing and if we limit feed them there's issues with aggression so I'm looking at different types of fibre in the diet to limit this aggression but also then after she has the piglets to encourage feed intake during lactation.
If you give them a high fibre diet, just the same as if we eat a diet with lots of fibre, you have that feeling of fullness.
So because they feel full they won't be so aggressive right after eating.
But I'm trying to look at ways of processing this fibre so that this feeling of fullness satiety lasts longer throughout the day.
So I'll be working with our new Canadian Feed Research Centre up in North Battleford to look at ways that we can process this fibre so it's not degraded so quickly in the gut and therefore this feeling of fullness lasts longer throughout the day.
We think because of this hopefully there will be less aggression during gestation and perhaps some improvement in feed intake in early lactation.
Dr. Beaulieu expects the first results from the feeding trials within the next 18 months.