Precision Feeding of Gestating Sows Across Three Parities Using Electronic Sow Feeders
Gestating sows experience varying nutrient and energy (E) requirements throughout gestation and across parities that are not accounted for in single-diet commercial feeding programs. The effects of precisely meeting daily E and lysine requirements for gestating sows on body weight and backfat changes and litter characteristics at birth were evaluated over three consecutive parities. Computer-controlled electronic sow feeders were integrated with the NRC 2012 Gestating Sow Requirements model to precisely blend two basal diets to meet individual sow daily estimated nutrient requirements. Sows on the precision feeding program were able to support growth of product of conceptus without sacrificing maternal protein and lipid gains and stores and produce less nitrogen waste into the environment with no effects on litter characteristics. Precision feeding did not affect feed costs under the conditions set out in this trial. Future research is required to determine the practical effects of precision feeding in commercial herds.