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Optimising liquid feeding for increased growth and improved feed efficiency in grow-finisher pig

Project Summary

Up to 70% of Irish pigs are liquid fed. Computerised liquid feeding systems are labour saving because they automatically deliver feed to troughs, however, management must be high to ensure their optimum use. It is evident that many producers still use excessive water to meal ratios, thereby negatively impacting on the feed efficiency of pigs and increasing the volume of manure produced. In addition huge variations in feeding curves, system hygiene, number/timing of meals (splits) delivered in a 24 hour period exist on Irish units. These too can have a major impact on pig growth

and feed efficiency. As a state of the art liquid feeding system is to be installed in Moorepark in 2015, it is proposed to use this to establish guidelines for producers on the optimum use of such systems. Optimum water to meal ratios, feeding curves, system hygiene and timing/number of feed split will be determined. Finally it is proposed to compare an optimised liquid feeding operation with meal and dry pellets in feed hoppers and single space wet/dry feeders. The latter will be very relevant when decisions on the choice of feeding system to install are being made on commercial pig units.

Expected benefits

  • Optimum water to meal ratios, feeding curves, system hygiene and timing/number of feed splits will be determined to optimize feed efficiency.
  • Therefore, a reduction in feed cost/kg carcass will be achieved. Reductions in other costs will also result. Housing and other non-feed costs will be reduced because of increased growth rate.
  • Water usage will reduce but more important still will be the resultant reduction in manure volume and its nutrient content.
  • As an optimized liquid feeding operation will be compared with other common ‘dry’ feeding systems the results from this project will inform important investment decisions when producers are installing/replacing expensive feeding systems on their units.
  • Liquid feeding allows for the use of liquid feed ingredients, often the by-products of the food industry. Optimizing the operation of liquid feeding systems will allow the continued/increased use of such by-products which might otherwise be disposed of via landspread

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