Can net energy diet formulation improve sustainability in the pork industry?

Source: Jennifer Shike, Farm Journal’s Pork, 25 February 2021, photo credit: Shred It

As the pork industry looks for opportunities to decrease its carbon footprint, could formulating diets based on net energy make a difference? Sustainability can be defined in so many ways or approached from so many different directions, says John Patience, professor of animal science at Iowa State University. But some experts say net energy formulation can provide a better path to sustainability.

Net energy will help to improve environmental sustainability, as it will tend to select diet formulations with lower crude protein and higher synthetic amino acid levels in the diet, Patience adds.

The critical key to overall success here is to understand the maximum levels of synthetic amino acids that can be used in the diet, considering the age and health status of the pigs.

At times like this, there is a very strong motivation to lower feed cost, but Patience reminds producers that the real objective is to maximize return over feed cost or return over feed cost per pig place in the barn. Formulating diets on a net energy basis can help use to achieve this, but it has to be done correctly, he adds.
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The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) coordinates industry interventions and collaboratively manages risks in the value chain to enable the sustainability and profitability of pork producers in South Africa.