Adapting the feed, the animal and the feeding techniques to improve the efficiency and sustainability of monogastric livestock production systems
Adapting the feed, the animal and the feeding techniques to improve the efficiency and sustainability of monogastric livestock production systems

Development of a decision support tool for precision feeding of pregnant sows

Authors: 
Dourmad J.Y., Brossard L., Pomar C., Pomar J., Gagnon P., Cloutier L.
Publication date: 
12 September 2017
Full title: 
Development of a decision support tool for precision feeding of pregnant sows
Publishing information: 
8th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming 2017, 12-14 September 2017, Nantes, France
Abstract: 

Nutritional studies indicate that nutrient requirements for pregnancy largely differ among sows and according to the stage of pregnancy, whereas in practice the same diet is generally fed to all sows from a given herd. In this context, the availability of new technologies for high throughput phenotyping of sows and their environment, and of innovative feeders that allow the distribution of different diets, offers opportunities for a renewed and practical implementation of prediction models of nutrient requirements, in the perspective of improving feed efficiency and reducing feeding costs and environmental impacts. The objective of this study was thus to design a decision support tool that could be incorporated in automated feeding equipment. The decision support tool was developed on the basis of InraPorc® model. The optimal supply for a given sow is determined each day according to a factorial approach considering all the information available on the sow: genotype, parity, expected prolificacy, gestation stage, body condition (i.e. weight and backfat thickness), activity and housing (i.e. type of floor and ambient temperature). The approach was tested using data from 2500 pregnancies on 540 sows. Energy supply was calculated for each sow to achieve, at farrowing, a target body weight established based on parity, age at mating and backfat thickness (18 mm). Precision feeding (PF) with the mixing of two diets was then simulated in comparison with conventional (CF) feeding with a single diet. Compared to CF, PF reduced protein and aminoacid intake, N excretion and feeding costs. At the same time, with PF, amino acid requirement was met for a higher proportion of sows, especially in younger sows, and a lower proportion of sows, especially older sows, received excessive supplies. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant agreement No 633531. The data used for the simulations were issued from a project conducted within the AgriInnovation Program from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada 

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