The abrupt development experienced in practically all fields of the economy was palpable also in the field of animal production and, within that, also in pig breeding. The technical parameters of the farms (number of piglets born, daily body weight gain, feed conversion ratio, etc.) have improved considerably, thanks to the new management systems, the modern genetic background and the continuously improved feeds related to the former.
Feed and premix ranges specific to genetic lines
The profitability of a pig farm is basically determined by the genetic lines applied. The selection of the genetic line to be used is a strategic decision, and all pig producers select the genetic line to be used on the basis of their own individual circumstances (management technology, management, animal health status, etc.). However, the objective is always the same: to achieve the highest possible profit from the sale of fattened pigs. For this it is essential to meet the different nutrient requirements of the modern pig hybrids to a maximal extent but at the same time in a cost-effective way.
One of the biggest challenges of today’s pig nutrition is that the feeding solutions must be adapted to the differing requirements (in terms of net energy and digestible amino acids) and capabilities (e.g. efficiency of digestibility of crude fibre sources) of the various hybrids by maximally utilising the potential inherent in the given genetic line. The composition of all feed formulations must be based on the knowledge of daily feed intake corresponding to the given genetic line and age group, as well as the accurate time of feeding phase changes. The energy concentration of the compound feed must be determined on the basis of this, which involves a change in the optimal digestible lysine/NE ratio and also in the proportions of ileal digestible amino acids. If pigs having a high growth potential are not fed a diet meeting their requirements and growth potential, this may lead to increased fat accretion, while the protein accretion may be suboptimal. All this increases the number of days to slaughter and may also have a negative impact on meat quality (Halas, 2017).
The different growth curves measured for different crossbred lines in a trial are presented in Figure 1.
Due to differences in the growth rate of the various genotypes, the nutrient requirements max substantially differ even within a specific growth phase, which must be taken into account when formulating diets according to the recommendations of the breeding companies (Table 1).
Certain hybrids can produce efficiently even when fed high-fibre diets containing a high proportion of by-products (DDGS, extracted rapeseed meal, extracted sunflower meal, etc.), as the extensive size of their caecum and large intestine facilitates a highly efficient microbial fibre degradation. The result of all this is a volatile fatty acid production of higher intensity, which provides extra energy for the animal (Tossenberger et al., 2016). During the fattening of these hybrids the combinations of different by-products can be used at a relatively high rate (at 15–20% of the ration), which makes it possible to reduce the feeding costs even further.
The pig production division of the Bonafarm Group uses DanBred genetics, and thus the finding of ways to meet the special requirements of this Danish genetic line in a cost-effective manner was in the focus of our research trials conducted in the Product Development and Monitoring Research Centre of Kaposvár University already in 2015–2016. To achieve this objective, we conducted feeding trials to separately examine all factors that could facilitate the optimisation of feeding costs (different energy densities and crude protein levels of feeds, possibility of the rational and optimal use of by-products). Owing to the new diets thus formulated, the technical parameters of our pig production division have been improving continuously in recent years, and at present they reach the level typical of the best Danish farms.
Taking into consideration the results and experience of the experimental farm and our pig production division, at Bonafarm-Bábolna Feed Ltd. we created a specific feeding concept that has been developed further in recent years. Previously, our pig diet ranges and premixes had been formulated exclusively on the basis of the intensity of production. However, by taking into account the genetic differences and the recommendations, it is now possible to meet the animals’ requirements even better and to develop a genetic-line-specific precision feeding for the most important hybrid genetic lines. Our feeding concepts developed on the basis of these principles work excellently also in the practice. The success of our genetic-line-specific diets is also demonstrated by the production results achieved by our partners (Table 2).
Table 2. The technical performance parameters achieved by our partners with genetic-line-specific dietsBonafarm-Bábolna Feed Ltd. makes every effort to share with its partners all the benefits resulting from its close co-operation and joint R&D activity with the Pig Production Division of the Bonafarm Group. To this end we have developed a new premix line for meeting the special requirements of the DanBred genetic line and to maximise the fattening performance (Table 3).
Table 3. Our new complete premixesIn summary, we wish to underline that our genetic-line-specific feeding concepts are always developed with an aim at maximally exploiting the potential inherent in the given genetic line and by keeping in view the specific nutrient requirements of the given line, while continuously optimising the production costs. Our diet ranges adapted to the requirements of the different genetic lines are tested in feeding trials, as a result of which we can offer solutions that work well in the practice. With our genetic-line-specific pig diets we can offer our partners, the Hungarian pig producers such diet ranges which better meet the requirements of animals, thus improving the profitability of pig fattening and the competitiveness of the pig production sector. An additional benefit is that by the better and more targeted utilisation of nutrients the environmental impact of pig farming can also be decreased.
Senior Swine Consultant
Bonafarm-Bábolna Feed Ltd.