Pellets versus meal in different pig feeders

Pellets versus meal in different pig feeders

*John H. Goihl is president of Agri-Nutrition Services Inc., Shakopee, Minn. To expedite answers to questions concerning this article, please direct inquiries to Feedstuffs, Bottom Line of Nutrition, 5810 W. 78th St., Suite 200, Bloomington, Minn. 55439, or email [email protected]

SWINE producers are constantly evaluating various factors to improve growth performance and feed efficiency while at the same time reducing feed costs.

Assuming that appropriate diets are being fed, the grain particle size is as fine as possible and feed wastage is minimized, would pelleting diets and the use of proper feeders further improve feed efficiency?

Previous research has shown that pelleting (good pellets) was an effective processing method to improve feed efficiency 4-6% when pigs were fed pellets versus meal in conventional dry feeders.

Research has also shown that as fines increase in a pelleted diet, feed efficiency decreases. When the diet contains approximately 30% or more fines, the improvement in feed efficiency is lost due to pelleting.

There are limited data available that measured the growth response of pigs fed pellets or meal in various feeder types. Recent research on feeder types showed little difference in pig performance when fed pelleted or meal diets in a wet/dry feeder.

However, when using conventional dry feeders, pigs fed pelleted diets had significantly better average daily gain (ADG) and feed efficiency than pigs fed meal diets. Also, pigs fed meal diets from a wet/dry feeder had improved performance compared to pigs fed meal diets from a conventional dry feeder.

Swine researchers A.J. Myers, R.D. Goodband, M.D. Tokach, S.S. Dritz, J.M. DeRouchey and J.L. Nelssen at Kansas State University conducted two studies to determine the effect of diet form and feeder design on finisher pig performance. These studies were conducted in a 48-pen, totally slatted-floor commercial swine research facility.

Half of the pens were equipped with a conventional five-hole dry feeder with a pan dimension of 152.4 cm (length) by 17.8 cm (width) by 14.6 cm (height). The other half of the pens contained a double-sided wet/dry feeder that provided both feed and water from a 38.1 cm-wide feeder opening on each side of the feeder.

Water was provided by a cup waterer in pens with the dry feeder. No supplemental water source was provided to the pigs using the wet/dry feeder. Pigs were provided ad libitum access to feed and water.

Both experiments were conducted in the same barn. Experiment 1 was from late spring through summer, and experiment 2 was from late summer through fall.

For experiment 1, 1,290 pigs with an initial bodyweight of approximately 47 kg were used for the 91-day study. Pigs were allotted to one of four experimental treatments (Table 1). There were 29-30 pigs per pen and 11 pens per treatment.

The wet/dry feeders were adjusted to provide a 2.54 cm gap, and the conventional dry feeders with pelleted diets were adjusted to a 1.78 cm gap.

The pigs were fed a common fortified corn/soybean meal diet in five dietary phases. The phase 1 diet contained 45% corn dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) and 0% dried bakery meal. DDGS was gradually decreased to 25% and bakery meal to 30% in the phase 5 diet.

All diets were made as meal diets first and then were split into two equal batches, with half being pelleted. The corn in the diets was ground to 550 microns. The pelleted diets were pelleted through a 9.53 mm hole diameter by 41.28 mm die thickness.

Pig performance measurements and feed disappearance were measured approximately every two weeks. On day 71, three pigs (two barrows and one gilt) from each pen were weighed and marketed. On day 91, the remaining pigs were tattooed, weighed off test and harvested, and carcass measurements were obtained.

The feeder pan coverage was determined during phase 4. The feed samples taken during each phase were screened for fines through a No. 6 screen (3.35 mm holes). The remaining pellets were then subjected to the pellet durability index (PDI) procedure and protocol.

Table 2 summarizes the pig performance and carcass measurements from experiment 1.

The researchers provided the following interpretations of the experiment 1 results:

* Overall, no diet form-by-feeder design interactions were observed for ADG.

* Pigs fed pelleted diets tended to have improved ADG compared to pigs fed meal diets.

* Pigs using wet/dry feeders had increased ADG compared to pigs using conventional dry feeders.

* Pigs fed meal diets from the conventional dry feeder had decreased average daily feed intake (ADFI) compared to pigs fed pelleted diets from the same feeder. ADFI did not differ significantly in the wet/dry feeder group based on the form of the diet.

* Gain:feed was similar for pigs fed meal and pelleted diets on the wet/dry feeders, but poorer gain:feed was observed for pigs fed pellets from a conventional dry feeder compared to pigs fed meal diets from the same feeder design.

* Feeder pan coverage of the meal and pelleted diets was similar for the wet/dry feeders. Pigs fed pelleted diets from the conventional dry feeder had increased pan coverage compared to the pigs fed meal diets.

* There was no diet form-by-feeder design interactions or effects for any of the carcass criteria evaluated.

* The pigs using wet/dry feeders were slightly heavier than the pig's using conventional dry feeders.

 

Experiment 2

Experiment 2 was designed in a similar fashion to experiment 1, except that the feeder adjustments were not maintained for the duration of the study. The feeder adjustments were checked twice daily and were adjusted as needed to ensure consistent feed pan coverage of 40-60%.

A total of 1,146 pigs with an initial bodyweight of approximately 38 kg were used for the 104-day study. The same four treatments were used as in experiment 1. There were 26-27 pigs per pen and 11 pens per treatment. The diets were fortified corn/soybean meal diets containing 20% DDGS.

The feeder pan coverage was taken on days 54, 78 and 104. The marketing procedure was the same as in experiment 1.

Table 3 summarizes the experiment 2 pig performance and carcass measurements.

The researchers provided the following interpretations of experiment 2 results:

* No diet form-by-feeder design interactions were observed for any of the growth performance responses measured.

* Pigs using wet/dry feeders had increased ADG and ADFI and decreased gain:feed compared to pigs using conventional dry feeders.

* Pigs fed pelleted diets had similar ADG but greater gain:feed than pigs fed meal diets.

* No diet form-by-feeder design interactions were detected for feeder pan coverage.

* There was no effect of diet form for any of the carcass criteria measured. Pigs using wet/dry feeders had heavier final bodyweights than pigs using conventional dry feeders.

Previous research studies, along with this study, indicated an approximately 4% improvement in ADFI and ADG when pigs were fed from a wet/dry feeder compared to a conventional dry feeder.

Also, previous research studies have indicated that pigs fed pelleted feed from conventional dry feeders had a gain:feed improvement of 4-6% compared to pigs fed a meal diet from the same type of feeder.

However, in this study, improvements in gain:feed were not observed consistently in pigs fed pelleted diets from the conventional dry feeders, which could be the result of poor pellet quality and feeder adjustments. When pigs were fed high-quality pellets (fewer than 5% fines), there were no differences in gain:feed among feeder types. However, as pellet quality decreased (more than 30% fines), gain:feed decreased in pigs using both feeder types.

 

The Bottom Line

This study supported previous research results that feeding pigs from wet/dry feeders improved ADG and ADFI compared to conventional dry feeders. Also, the effect of pellet quality on growth performance showed that good-quality pellets can improve performance, whereas poor-quality pellets are no better than a meal diet.

 

Reference

J. Anim. Sci. Vol. 91. No. 7.

 

1. Experimental treatments

 

-Feed form-

-Feeder design-

Treatment

Meal

Pellets

Conventional dry

Wet/dry

1

X

X

2

X

X

3

X

X

4

X

X

 

2. Experiment 1 pig performance and carcass measurements

 

-Treatment-

Criteria

1

2

3

4

Performance, days 0-91

ADG, kg

0.84

0.85

0.89

0.91

ADFI, kg

2.29

2.45

2.50

2.51

Gain:feed

0.369

0.349

0.357

0.361

Feed characteristics

Fines, %

35.1

35.1

PDI

75.8

75.8

Feeder coverage score, %

59

90

74

78

Carcass measurements

Final bodyweight, kg

123.1

124.0

127.2

128.5

Hot carcass weight, kg

91.7

92.7

94.1

93.8

Carcass yield, %

75.6

75.3

75.6

76.0

Fat-free lean index, %

50.4

50.4

49.7

49.9

Back fat depth, mm

17.3

17.2

18.8

18.3

Loin depth, cm

6.19

6.05

5.97

5.93

 

3. Experiment 2 pig performance and carcass measurements

 

-Treatment-

Criteria

1

2

3

4

Performance, days 0-91

ADG, kg

0.86

0.88

0.91

0.90

ADFI, kg

2.33

2.30

2.51

2.46

Gain:feed

0.370

0.382

0.364

0.368

Feed characteristics

Fines, %

8.4

8.4

PDI

92.4

92.4

Feeder coverage score, %

46

61

64

74

Carcass measurements

Final bodyweight, kg

126.0

128.4

132.1

130.1

Hot carcass weight, kg

94.0

94.6

98.3

97.4

Carcass yield, %

75.6

76.3

74.7

74.6

Fat-free lean index, %

51.3

51.1

50.4

50.7

Back fat depth, mm

15.9

16.3

17.8

17.1

Loin depth, cm

6.17

6.20

6.17

6.18

 

 

Volume:85 Issue:34

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