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New swine nutrition guide debuts at training sessions

Technology teams up with practical advice in a new publication that helps pork producers feed their pigs more efficiently. The National Swine Nutrition Guide provides a tool to enhance the understanding of practical swine nutrition, feeding principles and related management guidelines for nutritionists and others who advise pork producers on feeding and management.

Key Points

• Training sessions help introduce a new National Swine Nutrition Guide.

• The guide is a management tool to improve the feed efficiency of pigs.

• The guide is a project of universities and the U.S. Pork Center for Excellence.

That’s according to the swine nutritionists who are helping introduce the new guide in a series of meetings across the country in February and March. “The NSNG is a multistate effort that covers everything from management to feeding principles,” says Marcia Shannon, University of Missouri Extension swine nutrition specialist. She joined with Kansas State University swine nutritionist Joel DeRouchey to help introduce the new guide at a Feb. 17 training session in Kansas City.

Swine nutritionists from nine universities joined with the U.S. Pork Center of Excellence to collaborate on the project. The NSNG consists of 35 fact sheets and a Diet Formulator CD. The fact sheets are available for downloading by visiting www.uspork
. The training sessions were designed to help nutritionists who want to use the software to formulate diets. The software allows users to enter on-farm production data, including such things as lean growth rates, to calculate specific recommendations for swine diets.

“The NSNG is very management-oriented,” DeRouchey says. “The nutrient recommendations that come from using the guide and the formulation software should result in a best-cost feeding strategy for pork producers.”

The guide also takes an environmentally friendly as well as economically efficient approach to formulating feeds. Recommendations focus on the digestible parts of the diet. For example, the NSNG figures the need for lysine, an essential amino acid, on a standardized ileal digestible, or SID, basis. “This allows nutritionists to more closely meet the pig’s amino acid needs while minimizing excess nitrogen excretion,” DeRouchey adds.

Similarly, the need for phosphorus is figured on a digestible-P basis. “We’re trying to take how nutritionists and industry formulate diets to the next level,” Shannon says. “This can be considered a more green approach to formulating diets.”

The fact sheets cover subjects from protein and amino acid sources and nutrient recommendations to water systems and effects on air quality. The Excel-based formulation software allows producers to formulate their own diets.

Shannon points out that the formulator can do shadow pricing. “If you want to know when it’s economical to start putting distillers grains into your hogs’ diet it can tell you, for example, that it needs to be $200 per ton before it will be economical to add, with current corn prices,” she says.

The United Soybean Board, as well as the USDA’s Cooperative Research, Education, and Extension Service, financially supported the NSNG.

The new guide signifies a shift away from individualized state guides to a nationally standardized approach. “It’s a practical publication,” DeRouchey says. “It provides recommendations and feeding guidelines that include a margin of safety for commercial operations.”

Download tips on toxins, other swine nutrition facts

How do you handle weather-damaged grains that might contain mycotoxin? The new National Swine Nutrition Guide offers a fact sheet on this and other topics of importance to pork producers.

The fact sheets are available for free download in PDF form by visiting

The Utilization of Weather-Stressed Feedstuffs in Swine Diets fact sheet, written by Bob Thaler of South Dakota State University and Duane Reese at the University of Nebraska, points out that toxins resulting from mold growth in grains can cause problems.

The main toxins associated with grains are aflatoxin, zearalenone, vomitoxin and ergot.

The wet, cool and much-delayed 2009 harvest season has led swine nutritionists to be very concerned about vomitoxin levels in corn. Vomitoxin causes feed refusal and can significantly slow down daily gains in pigs. Pigs completely refuse to eat if vomitoxin exceeds 20 parts per million in the diet. Commercial laboratories can check for presence of mycotoxins, and determine the levels in grain or final feed mix.


NEW TOOL: Joel DeRouchey, Kansas State University swine nutritionist, participated in a training session on the new National Swine Nutrition Guide. DeRouchey says the guide’s nutrient recommendations and the formulation software should result in a best-cost feeding strategy for pork producers.

This article published in the April, 2010 edition of MISSOURI RURALIST.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.