Effect of sire type and a by-product based diet on performance and meat quality in growing-finishing pigs

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E. Kowalski, M. Aluwé, B. Ampe, S. Janssens, N. Buys, S. De Smet & S. Millet

Kowalski, E. et al. (2024) Effect of sire type and a by-product based diet on performance and meat quality in growing-finishing pigs. Animal Vol. 18, Issue 3, 101-106.


For many years, pig production has focused on maximizing performance by selecting for maximal muscle growth and feeding diets that allow the animals to express their genetic potential. However, it is unclear whether this selection for muscle deposition has affected the capacity of pigs to cope with by-product based diets, which rely on fat as the primary energy source instead of starches and sugars. Therefore, an experiment was set up to investigate if different types of boars affect how their progeny cope with alternative ingredients in the diet, with a possible need for adapted breeding schemes. Two types of boars within the Piétrain sire line were used based on either a high or low estimated breeding value for daily feed intake (HFI: high feed intake, low feed intake). When their progeny reached 14 weeks of age, two dietary strategies were compared: a control (CON) vs a by-product-based diet high in fat and fiber (HFF). The CON diet was mainly based on cereals (corn, wheat, barley) and soybean meal. The HFF diet was formulated to contain the same net energy, CP and digestible amino acid levels without any cereals or soybean meal. In total 192 animals were included in the experiment (48 animals/type of boar/diet) and performance, digestibility, carcass and meat quality were compared. None of the parameters showed a significant interaction (P < 0.05) between the type of boar and diet, suggesting that shifting to diets that are less prone to feed-food competition is equally feasible in different types of pigs. Type of boar did affect performance, carcass quality and intramuscular fat content. HFI pigs showed higher daily feed intake (DFI) and daily gain (P < 0.001), with no significant difference in feed conversion ratio (P = 0.205), lower carcass quality (P < 0.001) and higher intramuscular fat content (P = 0.030). For both boar types, pigs fed the CON diet performed better, with a higher daily gain (P = 0.028), DFI (P = 0.011) and dressing yield (P = 0.009) and better digestibility (P < 0.001), but without differences in feed conversion ratio or meat quality. In conclusion, there was no indication that pigs differing in feed intake capacity cope differently with a high-fat, high-fiber diet based on by-products. Different types of pigs may cope well with diets that are less prone to feed-food competition.

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