Epidemiology study: impact of simple nursery diet under commercial farming conditions - SIP Initiative - Ontario Pork - Completed Research
Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Completed Research

Ontario Pork has a call for research proposals once a year. 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 Jessica Fox at jessica.fox@swinehealthontario.ca

Completed Research

Epidemiology study: impact of simple nursery diet under commercial farming conditions - SIP Initiative

Project 14-008 - Kees de Lange, University of Guelph

Research Topics: Funded by OP but project was also Part of Swine Cluster 2 Research Initiatives
Project funded in 2014 and completed in 2017.

SIP Initiative: Innovative Piglet Management Strategies for Optimum Performance up to Slaughter Weight and Profitable Pork Production

OP project 14-008: Epidemiology study: impact of simple nursery diet under commercial farming conditions (adapted from the SIP final report for this initiative)

In a project funded both by Ontario Pork and Swine Innovation Porc (www.swineinnovationporc.ca), University of Guelph researchers demonstrated that a less expensive nursery diet (low complexity), had no adverse effect on growth rate and health of pigs at all production phases nor on carcass characteristic. Seven commercial farms were enrolled in this study.  A total of 774 pigs were monitored from birth up to slaughter. On each farm, half of the enrolled piglets were assigned to a simple nursery diet, i.e. low-level animal protein, while the other half received conventional feed. Both diets were fed in three phases over the six-week nursery period. After this period, all pigs were fed the grower-finisher diets common to each farm. 

The cost of feed per pig during the nursery period was significantly reduced for the low complexity fed pigs by $2.81 per pig. The researchers also investigated if there were any negative effects of the low complexity diet on health or growth of the pigs. No negative impacts on pig growth and performance up to slaughter weight were found. The pigs that were fed the low complexity diet appeared to have compensatory growth before the end of the nursery phase. However, the low complexity diet might increase the risk of Salmonella shedding in pigs as several genetic variants in immune system genes were found to be associated with Salmonella shedding.

Additional reading:

· Post Weaning Diets: A Simple Solution - January 2018 (Vol. 2, No. 3.) http://www.swineinnovationporc.ca/resources/Articles/Volume2/Vol%202%20No%203%20Post%20Weaning%20Diets.pdf

· Newman, J., Lillie, B., Lange, C.F.M., Friendship, R., Farzan, V. (2016) Salmonella shedding in nursery pigs fed with a high or low complexity diet. Presented paper (print version). 47th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 27-March 1, 2016.

 · Farzan, F. de Lange, C., Friendship, R., Lillie, B. (2015) Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes related to innate immune response against Salmonella in nursery pigs. Presented paper. 11th International Conference on the Epidemiology and Control of Foodborne Pathogens in Pork, Porto, Portugal, September 7-10, 2015. Retrieved from: http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/safepork/2015/allpapers/76/

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