If a producer chooses to eliminate supplemental fat from their swine diets because of high prices, then the question becomes, “how do pigs get energy without compromising production?” If fat isn’t in the equation, finding a replacement ingredient that matches the same caloric density will be hard.
However, what can be done is a net energy formulation (NE) that will help advise a new, energy-efficient diet. A net energy value gives you the true productive energy that's available for the pig to use for some productive purpose after waste, whether it's lean gain in finishing pigs or milk production in sows.
Some nutritionists use a metabolizable energy (ME) concept when calculating productive energy in swine diets. Both ME and NE formulation factor in fecal and urinary energy loss, but where they differ is that net energy accounts for heat energy loss during the digestion and metabolic processes, whereas metabolizable energy does not.
Why is that important? The net energy formulation helps producers and their nutritionists work together to maximize the energy density of diets with the ingredients available.
Setting Nursery Pigs Up for Success
Though nursery diets should be thoroughly analyzed, they become even more of a priority if supplemental fat is taken off the ingredient list for finishing diets.
If a producer plans to phase supplemental fat out of finishing diets, it is important to connect with a swine nutritionist who can create a sound nursery diet. By getting pigs off to a strong start early, there should be less need for fat to catch a pig up to market weight in the long run.
The best way to achieve this is to ensure that the starter feed given to nursery pigs is made for their digestive capacity and their specific needs by age.
Producers should work with their swine nutritionist to help gauge what products will provide the best nutritional value and offer the best weight-adding benefits. There is value in additives that might improve feed conversion, because feed efficiency is key in swine diets without fat.
Ralco Has Feed Additives That May Benefit Your Herd
Besides a better diet formulation, there are additives on the market that can help a producer achieve this goal. For example, a Ralco product that has proven to be a great addition to swine diets is ProsperEO™. This natural, essential oil product comes in both a liquid and dry form to be added to swine health programs.
In addition, it contains patented Microfused® oregano, thyme white and cinnamon essential oils and an Actifibe® Prebiotic that helps produce efficient growth through production, and supports digestive health and immunity.
While it would be recommended that another energy source replaces fat in a swine diet, ProsperEO can be incorporated to help maximize energy efficiency.