Kansas State University researchers have determined that soybean meal may provide higher levels of energy to growing pigs than originally thought.
According to the announcement, the study included feeding more than 2,200 mixed-gender nursery pigs with varying amounts of soybean meal for 21 days and then comparing the findings to the energy commonly provided in corn-based diets.
“For a long time, soybean meal has been thought to provide about 78% [of] the energy value as corn, so it hasn’t been thought of as a significant source of energy,” said Bob Goodband, a swine nutritionist with Kansas State Research & Extension. “What we found was that feeding increasing amounts of soybean meal increases the net energy value to approximately 105% and 121% of the energy provided by corn.”
Goodband noted that soybean meal is the primary plant protein source for swine diets in the U.S., and soybean meal is a good source of amino acids, which are important for building protein and for muscle growth in swine.
By changing the amount of soybean meal in swine diets, the Kansas State researchers were essentially trying to find the energy value of soybean meal as measured by its improvement in feed efficiency for those animals, the announcement said.
“Our findings will allow nutritionists to have a better understanding of the energy content of the complete diet and, therefore, make the appropriate adjustments to the other nutrients in the diet,” Goodband said. “This will hopefully be a potential benefit for producers by making pigs more efficient. Now that we know exactly how much energy is in soybean meal, we can adjust our diets accordingly and hopefully see improvements in gain and efficiency.”
As with all new management techniques, producers interested in adjusting their feed strategies should consult with a nutritionist for assistance.
Goodband said the findings related to soybean meal will be presented during the annual Kansas State Swine Day, which will take place Nov. 21 in Manhattan, Kan. Registration for that event costs $25 through Nov. 12 and goes up to $50 afterward. Students can attend Swine Day for free if they preregister. For information or to preregister, visit the website for the Kansas State department of animal sciences and industry.