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Study: Soybean meal increases weight gain, feed efficiency in growing pigs

Photo courtesy of the United Soybean Board (USB)

A soy-checkoff funded study finds soybean meal increases weight gain and feed efficiency in pigs.

Dean Boyd, supporting investigator in the study, is a consulting animal nutritionist and adjunct professor of animal nutrition at North Carolina State University and Iowa State University. Boyd says that despite these benefits, the feed market has changed.

“Corn distillers dried grains with solubles has skyrocketed in the diet, they’ve gone from almost zero to very high levels. The second change that happened was that the synthetic amino acid library has tripled from two amino acids to six. And the outcome of that was that soybean content, and diets has plummeted.”

The study found that as soybean meal use declined, so did the rate of gain.

“The North Carolina research I think is milestone, was led by Miss Brooke Anderson, and what she learned was that soybean plummeting in our diets was not without significant consequences. As it goes down in a stepwise fashion, so does growth. And how she constructed her study was to basically reconstruct the diet changes that have happened over the last 20 years, and it simply showed that as you displace soybean in a stepwise fashion, that growth got worse in a stepwise fashion as did feed conversion.”

Soybean meal inclusion levels in pig diets have become heavily dependent on pricing. Dean notes that a corn/soy diet is the most cost effective for summer weight gain. When it comes to soybean meal, this vital component also improves immune responses, provides anti-inflammatory benefits and enhances growth performance of pigs exposed to viral disease challenges.

“The NC State study showed that because of feed conversion improving by 17 points, the cost of gain was similar to the diets whose invoice price was best, but the bottom line was that you’ve got significantly more gain out of it. So, at the end of the day, the most cost-effective diet you can have for summer markets is a corn, soy diet with synthetics.”

Keep up with the latest news from the United Soybean Board and find the report online at unitedsoybean.org.

(Story by NAFB)