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Comments by Roy Chapin, Animal Nutritionist, on the Swine Rations proposed by others for Feeding at Rosan-Capital's Swine Operation in L'viv Oblast

Four rations were given to me for feeding at Rosan-Capital's swine operation being considered in the L'viv Oblast. These were prepared by the supplier of swine supplements to be added to local grains - barley and wheat.

The four rations are:

  1. Pre-starter ration for pigs smaller than 10 kg in weight
  2. Starter ration for pigs 10 to 25 kg in weight
  3. Grower ration for pigs 25 to 50 kg in weight
  4. Finisher ration for pigs 50 to 110 kg (market) in weight


I think it is preferable that the pre-starter ration is pelleted, as young pigs will eat more of a pelleted ration than of a meal ration. Feed intake is critical for animal performance and since the amount consumed by baby pigs is small even with the best of rations, this is not the place to economize on feed or processing costs. Since it is not anticipated that Rosan-Capital will have a feed mill with pelleting capabilities, I recommend that the pre-starter ration be purchased. The other three rations would logically be manufactured by a feed mill owned and operated by Rosan-Capital and fed as a meal. Grains should be finely ground as that increases their utilization when compared to course ground grains.

In actual practice, a facility of the size anticipated (10,000 pigs on feed at one time) would have more than four rations for starter, grower and finishing pigs. There would logically be a pelleted creep ration of even higher nutrient levels fed while the baby pigs are nursing the sow before they are weaned and fed the pre-starter ration. The creep and pre-starter rations could be commercial preparations or custom prepared rations made according to customer specification. Companies such as Kyiv-Atlantic could pellet swine rations as well as mix vitamin-mineral premixes and swine concentrates (contain proteins in addition to vitamins and minerals) with the formulations based on the specifications of Rosan-Capital's nutritionist.

While I'm assuming the above four rations are samples only, it should be pointed out that in a large swine operation you would expect to have a (1) creep ration for baby pigs, a (2) pre-starter ration for pigs up to 10 kg, and rations good for barrows, boars and gilts (3) between 10 and 20 kg in weight, (4) between 20 and 36 kg and (5) 36 and 55 kg. The above five rations would have crude protein levels of 25%, 22%, 20%, 18% and 16% respectively. After 55 kg of weight, barrows should be fed different rations than gilts. Any boars being raised for the breeding herd can be fed same rations as for gilts. Barrows should receive separate rations (6) between 55 and 77 kg of weight, (7) between 77 and 100 kg and (8) 100 and 125 (or market) weight with protein levels of 14%, 13% and 12% respectively. For the same weight groups as barrows, gilts should have rations of (9) 16% protein, (10) 14% protein and (11) 13% crude protein. In addition, there should be a (12) gestation ration with 12% protein and a (13) lactation ration of 17% crude protein. More important than the protein level are the amino acid levels with particular attention paid to the ten essential amino acids including the levels of lysine, methionine plus cystine, tryptophan, threonine, arginine, histidine, isoleucine, valine, leucine and phenylalanine plus tryrosine. It takes a computer to consider all these nutrients plus vitamins, minerals and energy supplied by various ingredients with costs considered, to arrive at a least-cost formulation.

Besides the protein levels changing in the above rations, there can be other nutrient (vitamins and minerals) and feedstuffs changes so the formulating of a complete swine program with farrow to finish rations can be complicated. In addition, while the vitamin and mineral premixes generally won't change when the source of grains is changed, the amino acids and energy levels can vary when wheat, corn, barley and oats are interchanged, which may happen when their relative prices change. In those situations, new formulations may need to be made for each of the above 13 rations in order to take advantage of economic benefits obtained with least cost formulations.

The rations presented are all simple combinations of soybean meal, wheat and barley with various premixes supplied by the company who made these sample ration formulations. The company's performance data appear good so I'm assuming that these rations are adequate. I still have some comments and suggestions.

I see no reason to use barley in a swine ration when wheat can be bought for the same price. Wheat has greater energy and lower fiber and depending upon the variety of wheat and barley, protein levels can be similar. The rations presented contain equal amount of barley and wheat. I'd use wheat and expect to get faster and more efficient gain.

Soybean meal is a very good protein but of high cost. Canola meal is available locally at a much lower cost. While you wouldn't want to use canola meal in the rations for young pigs, it can be used within known limits for growing and particularly finishing rations and in rations for the breeding herd (gestation and lactation) without compromising animal performance and with a considerable savings. Costs savings for canola meal may be $200 per ton over soybean meal. It would be a big mistake economically not to use canola meal, particularly in finishing rations. Therefore, the rations mentioned should be re-formulated to include canola meal.

When looking at the cost to fortify the above four rations with products bought from the premix company, the percentage cost for the premixes are 56% for the pre-starter, 45% for the starter, 25% for the grower and 20% for the finisher. This seems high but it is partly so because the costs shown for the wheat and barley are so low. I feel strongly that these supplements should be formulated from the ground up and then bid out to reputable premix suppliers to see if cost savings can be made over these standard premixes. I'm prepared to do the formulation work when asked. I'd suggest that Kyiv-Atlantic be asked to bid as well as others. We should try to have the premixes priced like any other commodity (low margin) rather than being priced like a specialty product (high margin). It of course depends some on the amount of services offered by the premix company and included in their price. If they'll do all the computer formulation and give other nutrition services, then that cost could rightfully be included in the price of the premixes.

The protein and amino acid levels suggested and formulated to, seem reasonable.

It appears that in the finisher ration that some of the vitamins and minerals have been left out. For example, the calcium level is shown at only 0.19 percent when it should be at 0.50 to 0.60 percent. This gives a dangerous calcium to phosphorus ratio of 0.40 to 1. Whenever this ratio is below 1: there is a real danger of the animal's bones demineralizing. Removing vitamins and trace minerals for up to 35 days before slaughter is sometimes done but isn't advised. I don't know what happened here as I don't have the nutrient guarantees of the premixes and this is for the ration fed during the entire finisher period. There are other questions with some of the vitamins from the nutrient levels shown on the finisher. Pyridoxine (vit. B6), nicotinic acid (that in grains is not available), pantothenic acid and folic acid all appear low in the finisher ration.

There appears to be an error in the vitamin D level shown in all rations. In fact, it is too high by as much as ten times that recommended. Vitamin D along with vitamin A are the two vitamins that have maximum tolerances. The level shown is too high according to accepted norms. It may be under the level of maximum tolerance but it appears too high.

Selenium is controlled in the USA at 0.3 ppm added to the ration. The total ration level shown in these formulations is 0.5 ppm. I'm not sure of the control here. In fact, 0.5 ppm shouldn't be dangerous to the pig and may be beneficial so I don't see it as a problem.

In general, the vitamin and trace mineral levels are substantially above the minimums suggested, which I like to see. If "jod" is iodine, it is pretty high, perhaps into the "too high" category. There is a value shown for cobalt. The only known nutritional use for cobalt is in the vitamin B12 molecule (4.4% of cyanocobalamine - B12). Cobalt is of no value when fed to a monogastric as they can't synthesize vitamin B12. When it is fed to ruminants, the microorganisms in the rumen can synthesize it into vitamin B12. Injecting cobalt into the ruminant body does no good as it is of use only in the rumen. Since there is always the chance that some use for cobalt has yet to be discovered, it isn't wrong to include some cobalt in the diet, but it is probably useless. There have been no feeding trials that show any benefit to feeding cobalt to monogastrics of which I'm aware. Feeding choline chloride to other than the breeding herd is of questionable economic value, although it is sometimes done. There are high levels of vitamin E being fed. This is an expensive vitamin but it may be justified for improved carcass shelf life as discussed in the general report prepared for Rosan-Capital. There could be some benefits to the breeding herd.

If animals fed by this premix company achieve the performance (rate and efficiency of gain) that they claim, it would be hard to criticize the nutritional adequacy of their formulations. I do have some questions on the cost as already expressed. I would like to present my own recommended nutrient values with sample rations but can't do that until I'm at home with my computer with my feed formulation program. I will do that if asked and give suggested rations based on local ingredients. I need the nutrient analysis and costs of the available feedstuffs.

Roy Chapin,

11145 Chapin Lane, Amity, Oregon 97101
Phone: 503-835-7317
Fax: 503-835-3333
E-mail: <[email protected]>

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