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Animal Health
Saturday, August 20, 2016 12:38:10 AM
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Goal: Improve the homogeneity in your feedlots

 

Pablo Conde Martínez et al., Produmix, S.A.

  
 
Introduction
 
Due to the great demands imposed by such a globalized market as the one involving the pig sector, the goal of every livestock company is to make their production as profitable as possible, in addition to being competent on the market. In order to comply with this premise, a key objective is to decrease every production cost and to maximize animal price at entry to the slaughterhouse. To achieve this latter goal, it is really important to produce highly homogenous animals, thus preventing the associated penalties for carrying animals out of the weight range established by the slaughter. Thus, Lumbreras, J (2013) calculated a difference of €6/pig between feedlot properly done or badly done loads.
 
However, the generalized use of hyperprolific lines and the decrease in space allocation per piglet in the transition stage, among other factors increasing pig weight spread, has led to a higher occupation rate in feedlots and to an increase in the time needed to empty them, making the farmer less competitive.
 

As exposed by Vela, A (2015), initial piglet weight has an amplifying effect on later stages (Figure 1).

 
Figure 1.  Amplifying effect of weight spread. 
 

 

PERCENTAGE

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PERCENTILE 10 AND 90

STAGE

5

10

25

50

75

90

95

 

Birth

0.83

1.01

1.22

1.38

1.51

1.74

1.91

0.73

Weaning

4.13

5.06

5.31

5.81

6.11

6.76

6.86

1.7

Transition

18.82

21.19

21.91

23.03

24.64

25.92

26.46

4.73

 A. Vela 2015

 

The increase in weight spread with age is related to variation in piglet growth curves according to their birth weight (Figure 2). Thus, smaller pigs may take up to 40 days more than larger pigs to achieve the target weight at entry to the slaughterhouse. That causes considerable losses, either because of an increase in feedlot occupation times in order to reach the target weight, or because of the penalties at the slaughterhouse due to the lack of homogeneity in the animals loaded caused by an early emptying of the feedlot so that new piglets can be received.

 

Figure 2.  Piglet weight variability from birth to slaughter (López Vergé and Sola-Oriol, 2015).

 


The coefficient of variation can be reduced through several strategies either in transition or in fattening stages. Thus, loads at the slaughterhouse can be eased, and farm profits can be increased.

After more than 3 years of research by Produmix R&D&I team, in own and external commercial facilities, an optimal feeding program for piglets has been developed. This program maximizes the growth potential of bigger piglets and increases the growth of smaller piglets in contrast to common nutrition plans, thus decreasing piglet weight spread at their entry to the feedlot (Figure 3). This objective is achieved with no increase in production costs, simply through the appropriate selection and use of additives.
 
Figure 3.  Coefficient of variation evolution in transition stage (Conde, P. ; Miranda, S. Anaporc Nov 2015).
 

 

The purpose of this experiment was to test whether the improvement in homogeneity during transition stage provided by the Produmix feeding program was maintained during fattening stage.

 

Materials and Methods
 
The experiment used 200 female piglets, from the weaning of a farm of 800 sows, which were labeled and weighed individually. That weaning had a prolificacy of 11.96 piglets/sow and an average lactation period of 25.3 days.
 
Those 200 piglets were separated into two groups. Group A (PRODUMIX feeding program) and Group B (Control: farm common operation). Piglets from each group were separated into 6 pens by weaning weight in order to carry out a different management in transition stage according to that weight (Table 1).
 
After transition stage (Table 2, from 42d post-weaning), both groups received the same common feeding program of the farm: growth feed (100 kg/animal) and fattening feed (until the end of the test). Nutritional values of both feeds are described in Table 3.
 
Table 1.  Feed management during transition stage in both groups.
 

MANAGEMENT

INITIATOR

PRE-STARTER

STARTER

Piglets up to 5kg

1.5kg

5kg

Until 42 d post-weaning

Piglets between 5 and 6.5kg

0.8kg

4kg

Until 42 d post-weaning

Piglets of more than 6.5kg

0.2kg

3.5kg

Until 42 d post-weaning

 

Table 2.  Nutritional composition of transition stage feeds.
 

 

Initiator

Pre-starter

Starter

 

 

Produmix

Competition

Produmix

Competition

Produmix

Competition

EN (Kcal)

2700

2650

2480

2470

2470

2450

CP (%)

19.5

19

18.6

18.5

18.3

18.3

CF(%)

2.5

2.55

2.8

2.85

3.3

3.3

EE (%)

7.5

7

6.2

6

5.6

5.4

Lactose (%)

14.5

13.7

4

3.5

0.88

0.88

Dig Lys (%)

1.35

1.3

1.26

1.22

1.15

1.12

Dig Met (%)

0.52

0.5

0.43

0.41

0.39

0.37

 

Table 3.  Nutritional composition of growth and fattening feeds.
 

 

GROWTH

FATTENING

EN (Kcal)

2453

2453

CP (%)

16.5

15.55

CF (%)

4.5

4.5

EE(%)

5.1

4.8

Dig Lys (%)

0.85

0.72

Dig Met (%)

0.26

0.22

 
Animals were weighed individually at 42, 100 and 130 days post-weaning, and feed consumption in each pen was also measured. (Picture 1).

 

Picture 1.  Facilities and  work material.

 

 

Results

 
Table 4.  shows general results of the experiment. Piglets fed with Produmix feed during transition stage gain 2.04 kg/pig more than the competition at 130d post-weaning, with a very similar nutritional cost of replaced kg (Picture 2).

Table 4.  Total results of the experiment.
 

 

PRODUMIX

COMPETITION

DIFFERENCE

Significancea

No. INITIAL ANIMALS

100

100

 

 

WEANING WEIGHT/PIGLET

5.86

5.9

-0.04

NS

WEIGHT 42D POST-WEANING

21.53

21.1

0.43

0.009

WEIGHT 100D POST-WEANING

71.47

70.7

0.77

0.005

WEIGHT 130D POST-WEANING

97.22

95.46

1.77

< 0.001

CASUALTIES (%)

1

1

 

 

TOTAL ADG (g/d)b

652.62

639.71

12.9

< 0.001

TOTAL FCR

2.29

2.35

-0.06

 

NUTRITIONAL COST (€/kg)

0.598

0.609

-0.011

 

a Subtracting block effect of initial weight (<5 kg, 5-6 kg y <6,5 kg). NS means no significance (p >0.05)

b Finding a higher effect on ADG 0-42d, of Produmix fed consumption, in piglets of group (<5 kg initial BW).

 

These results confirm that an optimal feeding in transition stage improves digestive preparation, increasing the homogeneity of the batch of animals. In addition, it should be noted that this homogeneity remains during fattening stage (Table 5 and Figure 4), being related to a faster growth speed of the whole batch in the feedlot (Picture 2).

 

Picture 2.  Pigs in feedlot.


 

Table 5.  Weight/pig in different stages according to their weight at weaning.
 

 

PRODUMIX

 

No.

WEANING

No.

42d 

No.

100d

No.

130d 

POST-WEANING

POST-WEANING

POST-WEANING

<5kg

15

4.376

15

17.543

14

66.485

14

91.028

5-6.5kg

68

5.843

68

21.601

68

71.438

68

97.363

>6.5kg

17

7.23

17

24.777

17

75.7

17

101.776

MEAN

100

5.86

100

21.53

99

71.47

99

97.22

C.V.

 

16.1

 

11.2

 

4.6

 

4.4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMPETITION

 

No.

WEANING

No.

42d 

No.

100d

No.

130d 

POST-WEANING

POST-WEANING

POST-WEANING

<5kg

15

4.407

15

16.438

14

64.421

14

85.857

5-6.5kg

67

5.887

67

21.131

67

70.618

67

95.748

>6.5kg

18

7.181

18

24.892

18

75.878

18

101.844

MEAN

100

5.9

100

21.1

99

70.7

99

95.46

C.V

 

15.6

 

13.2

 

6

 

6.5

 Coefficient of variation is calculated regarding individual animal weights

 

Figure 4.  Evolution of weights spread.

   

 

As observed in Figure 5, batches of pigs fed with Produmix during transition stage show lower coefficient of variation, and thus higher homogeneity during animal growth and fattening. In the same way, Figure 6 shows that the decrease in weight variability of piglets fed with Produmix is mainly due to the fact that piglets smaller than 5 kg and those between 5-6.5 kg showed higher growth than the competition during transition stage and following fattening stage.
 

Figure 5.  Coefficients of variation of both groups throughout the experiment.

 

Figure 6.  Effect on average daily gain from 0 to 42 days post-weaning in three groups of weight.
 

 
Discussion
 
Through a customized feeding program for each farm and a synergic combination of additives, Produmix is able to increase homogeneity of batches of weaned piglets during transition stage. As a consequence, that increase in homogeneity also allows a further decrease in weight spread during the productive stage of pigs in the feedlot.
 

Thus, companies can reduce the length of stay in the feedlot, optimize loads and reduce the considerable losses caused by penalties for animals above or below the target weight. The extent to which each company structure will be able to do it will depend on whether they have own or integrated feedlots. In the latter case, it will depend on whether they pay per animal released of the feedlot or per place per month.

Produmix and its R&D&I team will continue researching on improving homogeneity through the development of high-quality feeding programs in the piglet stage, which allow to reduce weight variability in fattening stage. Considering that new genetics will increase prolificacy, it is becoming more and more necessary to improve piglet feeding in order to reduce the birth weight spread and weaning weight spread, which increase costs in feedlots when loaded to the slaughterhouse.

 

 

For more of the article, please click here.

 

Article made possible through the contribution of Pablo Conde Martínez et al. and Produmix, S.A.

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