Pig Production Not Living Up to Genetic Potential

A swine nutrition expert with Novus International says pig production globally is falling short of genetic potential - which is costing the industry millions of dollars in lost performance. According to Novus Senior Manager of Swine Research Dr. Jeffery Escobar - despite various improvements in production efficiency - the industry just isn't capitalizing on the full genetic potential of animals. He says there's a vast gap between swine performance on a conventional farm and performance in a facility that is more aseptic and perhaps targeted towards research. Escobar says this indicates we are way below the ceiling for the genetic potential for performance of animals. Dr. Escobar says the gap also illustrates there is progress that can be made to achieve better performance by improving nutrition, management, environment and all other aspects that contribute to express or repress the genetic potential of animals.

One way to improve performance - according to Escobar - is optimizing animal feed to ensure individual animals receive the ideal amount of nutrients. He says mineral consumption is a key area for improvement. Not only are minerals very important for healthy development - but when used incorrectly - Escobar says minerals can be almost totally ineffective. He says feeding too much of one can cancel the intended effects of another. By using chelated trace minerals - Escobar says such antagonisms are avoided and more of the mineral's benefits can be realized. He says chelated trace minerals can help to improve structural health in bones, joints and tendons; aid fertility and reproduction; and enhance growth in terms of feed efficiency.

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