Nevin Manimala Statistics

Precision feeding of lactating sows: implementation and evaluation of a decision support system in farm conditions

J Anim Sci. 2022 Jun 17:skac222. doi: 10.1093/jas/skac222. Online ahead of print.


Precision feeding (PF) aims to provide the right amount of nutrients at the right time for each animal. Lactating sows generally receive the same diet, which either results in insufficient supply and body reserve mobilization, or excessive supply and high nutrient excretion. With the help of online measuring devices, computational methods, and smart feeders, we introduced the first PF decision support system (DSS) for lactating sows. Precision (PRE) and conventional (STD) feeding strategies were compared in commercial conditions. Every day each PRE sow received a tailored ration that had been computed by the DSS. This ration was obtained by blending a diet with a high AA and mineral content (13.00 g/kg SID Lys, 4.50 g/kg digestible P) and a diet low in AAs and minerals (6.50 g/kg SID Lys, 2.90 g/kg digestible P). All STD sows received a conventional diet (10.08 g/kg SID Lys, 3.78 g/kg digestible P). Before the trial, the DSS was fitted to farm performance for the prediction of piglet average daily gain (PADG) and sow daily feed intake (DFI), with data from 1,691 and 3,712 lactations, respectively. Sow and litter performance were analyzed for the effect of feeding strategy with ANOVA, with results considered statistically significant when P<0.05. The experiment involved 239 PRE and 240 STD sows. DFI was similarly high in both treatments (PRE: 6.59, STD: 6.45 kg/d; P=0.11). Litter growth was high (PRE: 2.96, STD: 3.06 kg/d), although it decreased slightly by about 3% in PRE compared to STD treatments (P<0.05). Sow body weight loss was low, although it was slightly higher in PRE sows (7.7 versus 2.1 kg, P<0.001), which might be due to insufficient AA supply in some sows. Weaning to estrus interval (5.6 d) did not differ. In PRE sows SID Lys intake (PRE: 7.7, STD: 10.0 g/kg; P<0.001) and digestible P intake (PRE: 3.2, STD: 3.8 g/kg; P<0.001) declined by 23% and 14%, respectively, and feed cost decreased by 12%. For PRE sows, excretion of N and P decreased by 28% and 42%, respectively. According to these results, PF appears to be a very promising strategy for lactating sows.

PMID:35714053 | DOI:10.1093/jas/skac222

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