Applying precision feeding techniques in growing-finishing pig operations
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The high cost of feed ingredients, the use of non-renewable sources of phosphate and the dramatic increase in the environmental load resulting from the excessive land application of manure are major challenges for the livestock industry. Precision feeding is proposed as an essential approach to improve
the utilization of dietary nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients and thus reduce feeding costs and nutrient excretion. Precision feeding requires accurate knowledge of the nutritional value of feedstuffs and animal nutrient requirements, the formulation of diets in accordance with environmental constraints, and the gradual adjustment of the dietary nutrient supply to match the requirements of the animals. After the nutritional potential of feed ingredients has been precisely determined and has been improved by the addition of enzymes (e.g. phytases) or feed treatments, the addition of environmental objectives to the traditional feed formulation algorithms can promote the sustainability of the swine industry by reducing nutrient excretion in swine operations with small increases in feeding costs. Increasing the number of feeding phases can also contribute to significant reductions in nutrient excretion and feeding costs. However, the use of precision feeding techniques in which pigs are fed individually with daily tailored diets can further improve the efficiency with which pigs utilize dietary nutrients. Precision feeding involves the use of feeding techniques that allow the provision of the right amount of feed with the right composition at the right time to each pig in the herd. Using this approach, it has been estimated that feeding costs can be reduced by more than 4.6%, and nitrogen and phosphorus excretion can both be reduced by more than 38%. Moreover, the integration of precision feeding techniques into large-group production systems can provide real-time off-farm monitoring of feed and animals for optimal slaughter and production strategies, thus improving the environmental sustainability of pork production, animal well-being and meat-product quality.
Is part ofRevista brasileira de zootecnia, 2009, vol. 38, p. 226-237
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