In this day of science and technology, pig production; as many other human endeavours, is shifting away from the conventional practice.
Most swine producing countries such as USA, South Africa, The Netherlands, UK, Thailand, Germany etc have invested heavily into science and technology to boost their competitiveness in the booming global pork trade.
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One area of great importance to the research is nutrition. The feeding of pigs is a key determinant of the quality of pork, and a major reason in the cost of production. For this reason, every pig farmer must aim to meet the best efficiency when it comes to the volume and quality of feed as well as the efficient use by the pigs.
For an effective swine feed formula, today, the farmer should look at ways to meet higher feed conversion rate, while saving on volume.
In other words, the swine feed formula must contain the necessary building blocks to enhance the metabolism of protein for faster growth and quality pork carcass with less fat (lean pork). Lean pork is a premium quality product on the market.
When pigs make the market weight early, the farmer can save on a number of cost drivers.
Key among the benefits are savings from the extra feed the herd would have consumed to meet the market weight normally. Achieving the market weight earlier has other benefits such as freeing up the sty to house new arrivals.
If in the period of 2 calendar years, a farmer could save one month per cycle. Thus selling his or her pigs a month ahead, he or she is saving a minimum of 4 months of the facility, enough for an extra cycle. Accordingly, this reduces Labour cost per cycle. The farmer may have also gained from veterinary services not needed for that one month saved.
The use of amino acids to boost the swine feed conversion rate in the swine industry is now a common practice globally.
As the industry is assuming a commercial competitive status in parts of the world, as a response to the growing demand for pork in China, USA, Portugal, Germany, Britain and others. So, science and technology adoption have become even more clear.
In the 21st century, pace and cost are the key determinants of profitability. This is not to downplay the essence of quality and public health imperatives in the process. The inclusion of synthetic amino acids (lysine, methionine and L-threonine etc in the feed of livestock pass as very safe and approved by reputable regulators worldwide. Studies and publications on the above mentioned abound on the Internet and scientific journals.
Most smallholder pig farmers in Ghana and most parts of sub-Saharan Africa often miss out on the benefits of these amino acids in their feed formula.
This could be attributed to the lack of information on their usefulness, non-availability and cost. Agencies of State, responsible for livestock production owe it a duty to promote modern trends in the industry among farmers, for increased productivity.
Progressive Pig Farmers Network of Ghana (PPFN-GH) and other pig farmer associations can help the dissemination of information to group members via seminars and training workshops periodically.
Read also: Raising Pigs: Choosing a suitable system
Most cereal grains used for swine feed are limiting in, for instance, lysine, threonine and tryptophan.
“In order to capture the potential savings with diet. containing high levels of synthetic lysine, you must also include a methionine source and an added L-Threonine source.
The ingredients in the diets and the stage of production determines the number of amino acids to use. (Some diets already contain levels of the amino acids under review.) The proper ratio of these three amino acids to each other and to other amino acids must also be maintained.”-hwww.nationalhogfarmer.com
When pigs eat the corn, wheat bran, crude protein (soya, fish meal, palm kernel cake, copra cake, cashew nut, blood meal, wheat bran etc. They need these amino acids to efficiently convert the protein supplied in the diet into lean muscle.
Lean pork is the premium quality in the swine industry. Every Ghanaian pig farmer must aim at producing pork without excess fat content. This is our first step towards building a truly competitive local pork industry. The farmer must make a deliberate decision to producing lean pork, and a lot of work must go into achieving this aim.
If we want to compete with other sources of protein on the Ghanaian market, we really need to work on the quality of the pork we produce. Farmers must understand the role the various feedstuffs play in the growth of the pig. With this knowledge, they can improvise around the alternatives in the local environment to achieve the best results-profit.
If these amino acids are not adequately supplied (exogenously) in the feed, most of the protein would not be utilised.
It would not be properly synthesised. They would come out in the excrements (faeces and urine), without actually serving the purpose. The farmer would end up serving more protein, at a higher cost, without the reciprocal results in growth and quality of carcass.
Amino Acids are nitrogen-containing building blocks for protein synthesis in all living things. Pigs need the amino acids, as humans, to properly synthesise dietary protein into lean muscle. You must also note that amino acid use in swine feed has implications for the health of the animal.
There is a total of 22 amino acids, categorised into two groups; essential and non-essential.
Of the two groups, the body produces all the non-essential in enough quantities. However, the pigs cannot synthesise adequate amounts of the essential amino acids to efficiently convert a greater proportion of the dietary protein in the feed into quality pork. The essential amino acids are:
- Methionine plus cystine
- Phenylalanine plus tyrosine
These amino acids play different roles in converting the protein in the corn, wheat, soy, cashew nuts, groundnut cake, PKC, fish meal, leafy vegetables among others into muscles (the red pork devoid of fat).
Lysine, methionine, tryptophan and threonine are especially noted to enhance protein conversion in pigs. They are readily available at most agricultural, veterinary shops, feed retail and feed processing hubs in Amakom-Kumasi, Ashiaman Tulaku, Ho Central Market etc.
For further information on essential amino acids used in swine nutrition:
PROGRESSIVE PIG FARMERS NETWORK OF GHANA (PPFN-GH)
We are building a national swine industry, using 21st Century approaches; to build a viable value chain attractive to the investor community and our teeming unemployed youth.
Helping to cut youth unemployment and the national protein deficit.
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