Research at the University of Illinois has demonstrated that adding rice bran to weanling pig diets does not have a detrimental effect on growth performance. Rice bran is a co-product of the rice milling process and is often added to swine diets; it is relatively inexpensive and may improve gut health in weanling pigs.
A team led by University of Illinois animal science professor Hans Stein fed weanling pigs diets containing either 10%, 20% or 30% of either full-fat rice bran (FFRB) or defatted rice bran (DFRB). Their growth performance was compared to pigs fed a control diet based on corn, soybean meal and whey powder. All diets were formulated to contain the same amount of digestible indispensable amino acids.
"Full-fat and defatted rice bran both contain more dietary fiber than corn," Stein said. "Because high fiber concentrations can reduce digestibility of energy and nutrients, we wanted to investigate whether or not including rice bran in the diets would affect growth performance."
For both FFRB and DFRB, increasing the inclusion rates decreased the average daily feed intake, probably due to the increased bulk of the diet. Metabolizable energy intake also decreased with increasing inclusion rates of FFRB or DFRB, but the pigs fed diets containing DFRB had greater average daily feed intake than the pigs fed diets with FFRB.
"With the decreased feed and energy intake, pigs might be expected to gain less when fed diets containing FFRB or DFRB," Stein said. "That was not what we observed."
There was no difference in final bodyweight among pigs fed the control corn/soybean meal diet and pigs fed any of the diets containing FFRB or DFRB.
Average daily gain was greater for pigs fed diets containing 10% FFRB or DFRB than for pigs fed the control diet but was not different in pigs fed 20% FFRB or DFRB diets versus the control diet.
The gain:feed ratio was greatest in pigs fed diets containing 20% FFRB. Inclusion of up to 30% DFRB had no negative effect on gain:feed compared with pigs fed the control diet.
"These results indicate that rice bran can be fed to weanling pigs at inclusion rates of up to 20% without compromising growth performance," Stein said.
The FFRB was donated by Rice Bran Technologies. Funding for this research was provided by AB Vista.
The paper, "Effects of Full Fat or Defatted Rice Bran on Growth Performance & Blood Characteristics of Weanling Pigs," was co-authored by Gloria Casas. It was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Animal Science and can be found online at https://www.animalsciencepublications.org/publications/jas/articles/94/10/4179.