Ralco formulates swine nursery diets with valine

June 5, 2018

3 Min Read
Ralco formulates swine nursery diets with valine

Ralco announced today that effective June 1, Ralco EnMAX nursery premixes will be available with valine. The addition of valine marks continued development in Ralco’s extensive amino acid knowledge that helps power EnMAX nutrition and leads to diets with less soybean meal and more low-cost energy in corn. EnMAX nursery diets are now formulated to precisely deliver the fifth limiting amino acid for pigs, valine, resulting in even lower cost diets that continue to perform.

Jim Hedges, vice president of Ralco’s Swine Technical Group explains, “We have used valine to some extent in our early nursery base mixes for some time now. It is a matter of economics, at one time all we could afford were crystalline amino acids like lysine and methionine, and then threonine prices got to a point where we could routinely use it, then tryptophan and now valine.”

Ralco’s EnMAX approach to swine nutrition leverages extensive knowledge in crystalline amino acids; this knowledge is one of the keys to Ralco’s revolutionary approach to swine nutrition. EnMAX optimizes the concept of net energy formulation resulting in diets with less soybean meal which is replaced with efficient digesting, low-cost starch energy found in corn.

“All this has been a long road,” Hedges says. “I personally formulated digestible amino acid feeds starting back in 1976. We have been waiting for years for valine to become economical for commercial swine production. It has been used at a limited amount in pre-starter and starter diets for several years but has been too expensive for late nursery or grow-finish diets. It is now feasible for late-nursery and we’ll continue to monitor the economic return to our producers with the hope that valine can become a feasible grow-finish option in the future.”

Excessive soybean meal hurts feed intake due to the heat of digestion and extra metabolic cost of eliminating the nitrogen from the excess amino acids consumed. EnMAX approaches diets from a deeper perspective than metabolizable energy and accounts for energy lost through heat increment in digestion.

Adding valine to the EnMAX nursery VTM reduces the level of soybean meal even more than past diets. The new diets incorporate more crystalline amino acids such as lysine, methionine, threonine and tryptophan resulting in a late-nursery diet with over 45 pounds per ton less soybean meal than previous EnMAX diets. The soybean meal is replaced with corn and more crystalline amino acids. The starch in the diet is increased, and starch is readily metabolized into usable energy for growth.

While most of the attention of pig growth is focused on amino acid density, the pig needs energy to drive maximum lean gain. Starch energy is much more efficient than fat energy and far less expensive. This is why Ralco’s EnMAX diets require significantly less fat than competitive diets. A diet with the same net energy and lysine percentage, with the new valine added VTM uses eight pounds less fat than would have been needed using previous versions of the late nursery VTM. 

Ralco is a third-generation family-owned multinational company with distribution in more than 20 countries. Ralco is a leading global supplier of livestock nutrition, animal health products and crop enhancement technologies that support large segments of the livestock, poultry, aquaculture and crop production industries.

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