Pigs eating at a feeder. Stramyk/ThinkstockPhotos

Use pelleted feeds to improve pig performance

Adding pelleted feed to pig diets increases growth rate by 6%.

One tool for getting the full value from your feed program is using pelleted feeds.

“Pelleted feed has become a go-to for many reasons including advantages in performance, cost-effectiveness and on-farm management," says Dari Brown, Ph.D., senior director of technical services at Purina Animal Nutrition Center.

Purina invested $2.4 million at its production facility in Mason City, Iowa, to increase the amount of pelleted feed the plant can produce annually by 25%. Most of the feed produced at the Mason City plant is sold to farmer-owned cooperatives within a 120-mile radius.

“We chose to invest in new technology and the future of our customers in this part of Iowa and Minnesota,” says Brown. “With all the benefits of pelleting swine feeds, including improved feed efficiency and growth rates, it just makes economic sense for our customers.”

What are the performance advantages of pelleted feeds?
Adding pelleted feed to pig diets has shown in research trials to support on average a 6% increase in growth rate, and a 6-7% increase in feed efficiency.

How does it work?
Pelletizing feed ingredients improves nutrient digestibility. It reduces feed particle size, as well as starch gelatinization, a process that makes starch granules more available for digestion.

Does feeding pellets increase weight gain in pigs?
Research at the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, Purina's working farm in Gray Summit, Mo., finds that in the nursery, pigs fed pelleted diets were 3.1 pounds heavier at Day 49 and had 5.5% improved feed efficiency when compared to pigs fed meal diets.

Results from the nursery period continued into the final lap of the grow-finish period. Pigs that stayed on pelleted diets post-nursery were on average 12 pounds heavier and 10.2% more efficient at finishing than those on meal diets.

What are on-farm advantages of pelleted feeds?
Opportunities for reduced costs and improved management include:

  • Increased nutrient digestibility
  • Less waste produced for easier manure handling
  • Less feed waste
  • Improved flow in feeders
  • Less pig sorting
  • Improved feeder adjustment/space

Source: Purina Animal Nutrition LLC

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