Pigs require a number of essential nutrients to meet their needs for maintenance, growth, reproduction, lactation, and other functions. The National Research Council (NRC), in its publication, Nutrient Requirements of Swine (updated in 2012), provides estimates of the amounts of these nutrients for various classes of swine under average conditions. However, factors such as genetic variation, environment, availability of nutrients in feedstuffs, disease levels, and other stressors may increase the needed level of some nutrients for optimal performance and reproduction. The NRC uses a modeling approach to take some of these factors into consideration in its estimates of requirements for energy, amino acids, calcium, and phosphorus, but requirements for other minerals and vitamins are estimated strictly from empirical data.
Although the NRC addresses factors such as lean growth rate, gender, energy density of the diet, environmental temperature, crowding, parity, stage of gestation, and various measures of sow productivity when estimating nutrient requirements, nutritionists, feed manufacturers, veterinarians, or swine producers may wish to include higher levels of certain nutrients than those listed by the NRC to ensure adequate intake of nutrients and for insurance purposes. Any negative effects from oversupplementing diets are generally minimal except in cases of extreme imbalance.
Swine require six general classes of nutrients: water, carbohydrates, fats, protein (amino acids), minerals, and vitamins. Energy, although not a specific nutrient, is an important nutritional component and is primarily derived from the oxidation of carbohydrates and fats. In addition, amino acids (from protein) that exceed the animal’s requirements for maintenance and tissue protein synthesis provide energy when their carbon skeletons are oxidized. Antibiotics, chemotherapeutic agents, microbial supplements (prebiotics and probiotics), enzymes, and other feed additives are often added to swine diets to increase the rate and efficiency of gain, to improve digestibility, and for other purposes, but they are not considered nutrients.
Dietary Nutrient Requirements of Growing Pigs Allowed Ad Lib Feed (90% dry matter) a,b,c
--------------------------Body Weight (kg)---------------------------
NE content of diet (kcal/kg)d
DE content of diet (kcal/kg)d
ME content of diet (kcal/kg)d
Estimated ME intake (kcal/day)
Estimated feed intake + wastage (g/day)e
Body protein deposition (g/day)
Approximate crude proteing
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