Feeding pigs silage

This field lab aims to investigate the feasibility of replacing imported sources of protein with home grown forage in order to improve self-reliance (improving financial resilience) and animal health.

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Field Lab Timeline

    3/31/2014 11:00:00 PM
  • Idea formed

    Idea formed
  • 6/9/2014 11:00:00 PM
  • 1st meeting

    1st meeting
  • 8/13/2014 11:00:00 PM
  • 2nd meeting - trial design

    2nd meeting - trial design
  • 9/30/2015 11:00:00 PM
  • Feeding trial

    Feeding trial
  • 12/2/2015 12:00:00 AM
  • 3rd meeting - taste test

    3rd meeting - taste test
  • 2/10/2016 12:00:00 AM
  • Weight gain results

    Weight gain results
  • 2/10/2016 12:00:00 AM
  • Carcass grade & gut health results

    Carcass grade & gut health results
For further information hover over the above milestone marks
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  • Achievements

    February 2016

    Weight gain results

    Gillian Butler from Newcastle University provided the results from the weight gain trial. These were assessed using ANOVA statistical analysis.
    Our results indicate that feeding silage to pigs, rather than a standard diet, did not negatively impact on weight gain. For the Duroc cross pigs there was no significant difference in weight gain between the two diets. An earlier meeting that included a pork tasting session found that that feeding silage to pigs is not detrimental to pork quality.

    Milestone: Weight gain results

    February 2016

    Carcass grade & gut health results

    Unfortunately these results could not be collected during this field lab, however there is room for expansion on this in further research and field labs.

    Milestone: Carcass grade & gut health results

    December 2015

    3rd meeting - taste test

    The quality of pork from the two different feed rations was assessed by attendees. Quality criteria included flavour, aroma, and appearance.
    The results of this session indicate that feeding silage to pigs is not detrimental to pork quality. If clear financial, animal health, and environmental benefits can also be demonstrated then there is potential for silage to be fed to pigs commercially.

    Milestone: 3rd meeting - taste test

    September 2015

    Feeding trial

    Two groups of pigs of a similar weight, and similar mix of sexes and breeds were used. The control group were fed the normal ration, and the other group were fed the experimental ration which included silage that was fed from a modified feeding structure to minimise wastage.
    Pigs were weighed at around the 50 kg stage, and then re-weighed 55 days later. EID tagging allowed individual data recording.

    Milestone: Feeding trial

    August 2014

    2nd meeting - trial design

    The practicalities and logistics of carrying out the trial were discussed. This included the feeding system, the way the data was collected, and which pigs (age, weight, sex, breed) would be used for the trial.

    Milestone: 2nd meeting - trial design

    June 2014

    1st meeting

    Newcastle University researcher Gillian Butler outlined relevant research on alternative feeds for pigs, and their nutritional requirements.
    The nutritional content of feeds that can be produced on-farm and could be used in a trial. The group discussed which variables should be measured and what was practical.

    Milestone: 1st meeting

    March 2014

    Idea formed

    A farmer approached Soil Association Scotland regarding finding alternative, homegrown, sources of protein for his pigs.

    Milestone: Idea formed

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