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Nursery pigs in a pen in a hog barn National Pork Board

Commercial research examines increasing lactose in nursery diets

Studies showed that a total pig intake of approximately 2.5 pounds of permeate is optimal for overall pig productivity and health.

With estimates suggesting African swine fever has reduced the China sow population by as much as 30 to 50% and the disease spreading rapidly in other major pig production regions such as Vietnam, it puts a premium on maximizing the productivity of surviving pigs in all regions. According to Kevin Halpin, chair of the American Dairy Products Institute’s Permeate Task Force and vice president of Sales and Marketing for International Ingredient Corp., increasing permeate inclusion rates in swine nursery feeds globally could be part of the solution.

At this year’s ADPI annual meeting in Chicago earlier this month, Halpin reported on two ADPI-funded research projects conducted in large commercial pig production facilities. The studies showed that a total pig intake of approximately 2.5 pounds of permeate is optimal for overall pig productivity and health.

Pipestone Grow-Finish Project 1(1,080 pigs, eight replicates per treatment, five treatments [0-24% permeate])

  • Overall, pigs were healthy with good performance (low pig removals in the study).
  • Phase-1 and -2 average daily gain and body weight increased linearly with increasing lactose levels.
  • “Margin over feed cost” analysis indicated Treatment B (20%-14%-5% lactose program) was optimal. Average lactose intake per pig on treatment B was 1.95 pounds, equivalent to 2.42 pounds of whey permeate.
  • Results of this study are in agreement with previously published research.

North Carolina State University (led by Sung Woo Kim) Project 2 (1,200 pigs, 10 pens per treatment, 20 pigs per pen, six treatments [0-18.75% permeate])

  • Pigs at 7 to 11 kilograms BW required a diet with 13.6% whey permeate for an optimal gain-to-feed ratio.
  • The total whey permeate intake to optimize gain/feed ratio in Phase-2 was 1.46 pounds. The estimated whey permeate intake during Phase-1 was 1.35 pounds, therefore the recommended whey permeate intake during Phase 1 and 2 combined was 2.81 pounds.
  • Supplementation of whey permeate improved growth performance and enhanced gut health by modulating inflammatory response and intestinal microbiota in nursery pigs from 7 to 11 kilograms BW.

In an abbreviated review of published literature, Halpin cites papers showing the recommended intake level of lactose ranging from 1.58 to 2.0 pounds, equivalent to 1.98 to 2.5 pounds of permeate. Currently, China feeds an estimated average of about 1.0 pound of permeate per pig.

“The recent commercial-scale feeding studies reaffirm that in today’s pig production systems, optimal feeding practices would include 2 to 2.5 pounds of permeate per pig,” says Halpin.

Source: American Dairy Products Institute, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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