Phase-Feeding: Do Fewer Phases Compromise Growth Performance in Grow-Finish?

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

This week, Dr. Mariana Menegat for Kansas State Univeristy shares her latest results when evaluating the optimal number of phases in feeding growing pigs.

Key Points

  • Fewer dietary phases, i.e. from 4 to 3 or 2 phases, with lysine levels set close to the requirements does not compromise growth performance of grow-finish pigs.
Continue reading “Phase-Feeding: Do Fewer Phases Compromise Growth Performance in Grow-Finish?”

Energy, amino acid, and phosphorus digestibility and energy prediction of thermally processed food waste sources for swine

This week, the swine nutrition team at the University of Minnesota is presenting their latest publication on food waste and its nutritional value.

Key Points

  • The digestibility of energy and nutrients of fish waste, supermarket waste, and vegetable waste was investigated.
  • Both fish and supermarket waste were excellent sources of digestible energy, metabolizable energy, and digestible amino acids 
  • These food waste sources could be used to partially replace corn and soybean meal in swine diets to reduce environmental impact
Continue reading “Energy, amino acid, and phosphorus digestibility and energy prediction of thermally processed food waste sources for swine”

Addition of antioxidants controls and delays lipid oxidation, but does not affect growth performance and oxidative status of pigs fed oxidized oils

This week, the swine nutrition group from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota share the impact of antioxidants on feed quality and growth performances in pigs.

Key points

  • The addition of synthetic antioxidants can improve lipid stability, but does not completely prevent further oxidation in both fresh (unoxidized) and oxidized lipids.
  • The addition of synthetic antioxidants did not affect growth performance of pigs fed oxidized oil, but improved signs of oxidative stress.
Continue reading “Addition of antioxidants controls and delays lipid oxidation, but does not affect growth performance and oxidative status of pigs fed oxidized oils”

What is the impact of zinc in late-gestation diets?

Image by Tim McReynolds from Pixabay

Our colleagues in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural resource Sciences (CFANS) have shared one of their latest projects with the National Hog Farmer readers. They found that adding higher amounts of zinc in the late-gestation diet of sows in both a research and commercial herd increased the survival of smaller piglets until they are weaned.

Continue reading “What is the impact of zinc in late-gestation diets?”

Evaluation of a Partially De-oiled Microalgae Product in Nursery Pig Diets

The publication we are sharing today is a collaboration between the Department of Animal Science, the Department of Food Science and nutrition and the West Central Outreach and Research Center at the University of Minnesota. It is published in open access in the journal Translational Animal Science.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential use of microalgae extract (MAE) as a feed ingredient in nursery pig diets.


300 weaned pigs were selected, blocked by initial body weight and allotted to 60 pens, with five pigs per pen. Ratio of gilts and barrows was balanced evenly. Pens within blocks were assigned randomly to one of five dietary treatments.

Dietary treatments included:

  1. corn and soybean meal (CON),
  2. CON with 1% MAE,
  3. CON with 5% MAE,
  4. CON with 10% MAE
  5. CON with 20% MAE.

Diets were formulated to meet the nutrient requirements of nursery pigs and fed using a 3-phase program, where each phase consisted of a 2-wk period.

Average Daily Gain (ADG), Average Daily Feed Intake (ADFI) and Gain to Feed (G:F) were measured weekly.

After 42 days, 30 pigs were harvested and intestinal samples were collected to measure mucosal length and goblet cell quantifications.


Final body weight of pigs among pens consuming MAE was greatest when consuming 1, 5, or 10% MAE compared with those fed the control diet, but feeding 20% MAE was not different from the control diet. The greater final body weight appeared to be the result of greater ADG from days 1 and 7, due to a higher ADFI.

There was no effect of feeding MAE on G:F during most weigh periods except during days 15 to 21 when G:F increased in pigs fed MAE.

Feeding diets with MAE did not result in changes in intestinal architecture measured by the height of the intestinal mucosal or presence of mucus-producing cells in the jejunum. In contrast, the ileum of pigs fed the 5% MAE diet tended to have reduced mucosal height compared with that of pigs fed 20% MAE diet. Goblet cell area of the ileum was not affected by dietary treatments.

Link to the full article


Although microalgae can be used as a source of energy and macronutrients in pig diets, there is limited information on the use of partially de-oiled microalgae co-products in swine feeding programs. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of a partially de-oiled microalgae extract (MAE) in nursery pig diets on growth performance and health status. A total of 300 pigs (initial BW = 6.3 ± 2.1 kg) were used in a 42-d experiment. Treatments included a standard corn-soybean meal control diet, and diets containing 1, 5, 10, or 20% MAE replacing primarily corn. The ME content of MAE was calculated from the chemical composition, and diets were formulated to meet or exceed nutrient requirements for nursery pigs. Pigs were stratified by weaning BW into 12 blocks in a randomized complete block design, with sex distributed evenly among blocks. Pens of pigs (5 pigs/pen) were assigned randomly within block to one of 5 dietary treatments. Pig BW and feed disappearance were recorded weekly. On d 42, thirty pigs were harvested and sections of the jejunum and ileum were collected for gut morphology analysis, and a liver sample was collected for metabolomic analysis using liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy. Data were analyzed by ANOVA with diet as treatment effect, and contrasts were used to test linear or quadratic effects of dietary MAE inclusion level. Overall, pigs fed 1 and 5% MAE had the greatest (quadratic P < 0.05) ADG, resulting from greater (quadratic P < 0.05) ADFI. There was a tendency for a greater number of pigs requiring injectable treatments (P = 0.16) and a greater mortality (P = 0.14) in pigs fed the control diet than pigs in any of the diets with the MAE. Final BW increased (P < 0.05) for pigs fed 1 and 5% MAE diets. The improvements in ADG were not explained by differences in mucosa height or goblet cell count among dietary treatments. Pigs fed diets containing 1 or 5% MAE had relatively less concentration (P < 0.05) of ammonia in the liver and had changes in metabolites associated with the urea cycle. In conclusion, feeding MAE resulted in increased growth responses and may have beneficial health effects when fed to nursery pigs.