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By: Emily Miller
Monogastric On-Farm Technology and Product Performance Specialist
Grand Valley Fortifiers

Offering exceptional nursery feeds for Canadian Swine producers requires constant evaluation. A recent example of this improvement process involved testing out an additive in nursery feeds we offer for piglets up to 9 kg. Early piglet nutrition is an area of great interest for several reasons. The first being that the weaning weight and subsequent weight at the end of the nursery period is predictive of lifetime performance. It is also important to investigate tools (like feed additives for improved gut health) that could be part of the solution to replacement of in-feed antibiotics. If we can improve the feed intake, growth performance, and gut health and/or function of weaned pigs, we are setting the stage for weaning to market success.
In a recent trial, we compared our standard nursery program from weaning to 10 kg, using Initiate and Propel, compared to Initiate and Propel with Additive P included. The feed budget was the same during this time. After 10 kg of bodyweight, all pigs were put on the same feeds and budget for the rest of the nursery period. Additive P is designed to support and maintain digestive function and intestinal microflora. There is also evidence to suggest antioxidant capacity with this additive. These characteristics would be beneficial for newly weaned pigs, as they have a relatively underdeveloped digestive tract and need to adapt from a milk-based diet to a dry, pelleted diet.

The trial was conducted with 565 newly weaned piglets, split evenly among the two treatments. The feed budget was the same for both groups of pigs. The only difference was the Additive P included in the Initiate and Propel diets for the treatment pigs (Table 1).

BioForce Iniative
BioForce Propel
BioForce Piglet 180
BioForce Piglet 32
BioForce Hog 32
1.0 kg
1.5 kg
4.0 kg
17.0 kg

Table 1. Feed Budget

Including an additive designed to help with digestive function in the first two phases of the nursery resulted in similar growth, feed consumption, and feed conversion compared to the Standard nursery program from 7.4 to 34 kg (Table 2). There was a $0.21 greater margin over feed cost with the inclusion of Additive P, which was calculated using the body weight gained and considering the cost to feed the pig. However, the bigger take home message would be the excellent nursery performance from both groups of pigs, achieving > 600 g/d growth and greater than 1.5 feed conversion from 7.4-34 kg.
Start weight, kg
End weight, kg
Average daily gain, g
Feed consumed / pig, kg
Feed conversion ratio
Feed cost / kg gain, $
Margin over feed cost, $/pig*
Additive P

Table 2. Overall Nursery Results
*margin over feed cost = ($3 per kg feeder pig gain) – feed cost

The inclusion of Additive P yielding similar growth performance with a numerically greater margin over feed cost, warrants further discussion. As part of our strategic partnership with AB Neo, utilizing the Primary Diets Nursery Feeds, we will review the results from Additive P together to determine our next course of action. Nevertheless, the nursery performance achieved by both groups of pigs in this trial is evidence of the high quality nursery feeding program offered by Grand Valley Fortifiers.

This trial is a great example of continuous evaluation of the nursery feeding programs at Grand Valley Fortifiers. Each trial gives us more insight and allows us to make improvements to our feeding programs, with the ultimate goal of improving the profitability of our customers. We do recognize that every farm is different, and conditions can even vary from batch to batch, highlighting the importance of continuous data generation and product evaluation. If you would like to learn more about running trials on your farm or sharing data with us, please reach out to support@onfarmbi.com or your Livestock Business Consultant!

Would you like more information about the nursery feeding programs available from Grand Valley Fortifiers?
Contact us today by calling: 1-877-625-4400 or 519-621-4400

This article was written for the Spring 2024 Swine Grist. To read the whole Swine Grist, click the button below.