The effects of developing gilts limiting energy intake, using a high-fiber diet, compared to a corn-soybean meal based diet were evaluated. The high-fiber diet used contained 40% soybean hulls. During development, growth and ultrasound data were collected at 2-week intervals. Boar exposure was used daily to determine age at 1st detectable estrus. After breeding at 230 days of age, gilts were managed similarly and received the same diets. Females were culled only for reproductive failure, ruptures, or severe lameness. Reproductive traits were measured for a maximum of parity 4 (785 days of age). Gilts developed on the high-fiber diets expressed puberty 11 days later, weighed 18.6 kg less and had 9 mm less backfat at breeding. There were no detrimental effects of reduced energy intake on reproductive measurements or progeny performance. Developing gilts with the lower energy diet decreased feed input costs by 14.3% compared to the corn-soybean meal based diet, based on Spring 2013 feed prices. This study validates results from previous experiments investigating the effects of reducing energy intake during development. These results suggest a lower-cost management strategy that reduces energy intake without restricting access to feed and that does not decrease sow productivity.
Contact information: Phillip S. Miller, Ph.D.,Professor, Department of Animal Science, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0908, 402-472-6421"", [email protected]