31 March 2000

More feed area more pigmeat

MORE pigmeat a pen can be produced by offering bigger feed areas, according to research by JSR Health-breds pig scientist Paul Penny.

He said offering pigs additional feed area would override the negative effects of reducing floor space.

Looking at performance of 396 grower pigs from 20-40kg over a 28-day trial period, Dr Penny said reducing pen space from 0.4m sq a pig to 0.3m sq, both with 50mm a pig feeding area, would hit performance.

"A decrease in floor area results in poorer liveweight gains and lower feed intake but this can be overcome by offering more feeding opportunities," he said.

Raising feed area to 100mm a pig would override negative responses from increasing stocking density.

Despite these conclusions, producers would not be allowed to lower pig space below the EU standard of 0.4m sq a pig, and so its practical implication is limited.

Nevertheless, there were enough positive responses from offering pigs more feeding area for this experiment to have good practical implications, said Dr Penny. &#42