Tuesday, July 23, 2019
    

Completed Research

Ontario Pork has a call for research proposals twice a year (fall and spring). These projects were approved for funding by the board on recommendation of the research committee. If you have questions or need further information about the research posted here please contact Kathy Zurbrigg at kathy.zurbrigg@ontariopork.on.ca


Completed Research

Nitrogen Requirements and Utilization in Growing Pigs: Research into reduced feed costs and environmental impact of nitrogen

Nitrogen Requirements and Utilization in Growing Pigs: Research into reduced feed costs and environmental impact of nitrogen

Project 11-005 - Lead Researcher: Kees de Lange, University of Guelph

Research Summary: Project 11-005
Lead Researcher: Kees de Lange, University of Guelph
Funded by Ontario Pork in 2011 and completed in 2013
The project supported a Ph.D. student (Dan Columbus; thesis defended Sept'12) and a M.Sc. Student (Wilfredo Mansilla; thesis defended Sept'13).

FINAL REPORT

 

Feed costs are the single largest contributor to the cost of pork production.  After energy, amino acids and protein are the largest contributors to nutrient costs of pig diets. Researchers at the University of Guelph investigated the digestibility and efficiency of feeding growing pigs nitrogen from non-protein sources. The addition of urea and ammonia salts were used to supplement diets that were low in nitrogen (e.g. soybean meal). The added nitrogen was readily absorbed by the large intestine and efficiently used for protein deposition. The researchers found that when diets limited in nitrogen were supplemented with ammonia salts, the feed efficiency of the growing pigs improved as more ammonia salts were added. However, there is a limit to this benefit as feed wastage increased and feed intake decreased as the inclusion rate of ammonia salts increased. In addition, the researchers found that when pigs were fed a diet limited in the amino acid valine, the non-protein nitrogen was recycled from the large intestine and used by gut bacteria to produce the amino acid, improving protein gain over pigs fed a valine-limiting diet not supplemented with nitrogen.

  

These findings provide insight for practical feed formulation for growing pigs. It appears that pigs are efficient at using inexpensive non-protein nitrogen to fill their protein requirements for lean gain.  It may be possible to decrease the cost of feed and reduce the loss of nitrogen to the environment by decreasing the protein level and adding an inexpensive nitrogen supplement such as ammonia salts in conjunction with alternative protein sources such as crystalline amino acids. 

The financial benefit to a producer will depend on the cost of different protein sources, especially the costs of crystalline essential amino acids relative to the cost of protein from conventional ingredients such as soybean meal.  However as the prices of crystalline essential amino acids continues to decline, the potential financial benefit of formulating pig diets for nitrogen requirements in combination with increased usage of crystalline amino acids will increase. 

Other resources on this project:



 


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