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Canadian Research Effort Focuses on Improved Feeding Programmes

30 July 2015, at 12:00am

CANADA - A national research effort is allowing scientists from across Canada to collaborate on ways to improve feeding programmes for growing-finishing pigs, writes Bruce Cochrane.

The chair of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences with the University of Alberta says that will enhance global competitiveness opportunities.

As part of a national research effort being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, researchers with the Universities of Sherbrooke, Laval, Guelph, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre, and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development are collaborating on a national feeding programme for growing-finishing pigs, to enhance global competitiveness opportunities across Canada.

Dr Ruurd Zijlstra, a professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences with the University of Alberta, explained the programme contains 4 components.

Dr Ruurd Zijlstra-University of Alberta:

The first one is that we will continue to identify new novel ingredients or ways to use ingredients in a better way so that we allow the pigs to extract as many nutrients as possible from feedstuffs or the complete feed.

The second component is precision feeding, so how can we better match the feed that we provide to the nutrient requirements of the pig.

The third component is modelling of group housed pigs, how can we better let them meet their requirements.

The final component is actually some practical validation.

In other words, we will find out some new and novel things from items 1 to 3 but then, still in the end, we want to apply that new feeding technology and let the pigs decide how they feel about those new findings.

Dr Zijlstra says this collaborative approach offers an opportunity to go Canada wide and involve researchers from many institutions in coming up with new and novel ways to improve feeding programmes.

He noted it’s a five year time window and it is just past the two year mark.