Exploring Alternative Sources Of Protein In Organic Pig Rations
FAI conducted a multi-year feed trial exploring the feasibility of using a silage-based feeding system for Gloucester Old Spot pigs, and compared the inclusion of soya, beans and peas as protein sources in terms of pig growth performance. The results of the trial, published in Organic Farming demonstrates that a 100 per cent organic diet for pigs using alternative, locally-grown sources of protein as part of a forage-based ration can provide a viable alternative to a soya-based diet.
During the trial no significant difference in the pen mean daily live weight gain was observed during the grower phase (pen mean age of 11-14 weeks) between the diet groups. However, during the finisher phase (pen mean age of 15-22 weeks), pigs on the soya and pea rations had significantly faster growth rates than pigs fed the bean ration. It is speculated that the slight shortfall in growth rate observed in the pigs fed the bean ration may be offset by the lower cost of production of beans in the UK.