Iowa State University attempting to safely slow hog growth

With processing capacity reduced, pork producers consider changing feed rations to slow down hog growth.

Iowa State University researchers released the results of a new feed trial to give producers practical options for slowing down hog growth.

“We wanted our nutritional, diet formulations to be practical and easy to implement, and also, we wanted to mindful of welfare considerations,” Iowa State’s Dr. Nicholas Gable said. “So we avoided anything to do with feed restriction, water restriction, or feeding every other day.”

They tested eight different diet options and found the best results were in a 4 percent calcium chloride diet, where hogs only gained 20 pounds over 28 days. The second-best results were with a 97 percent corn diet, in which hogs only gained 30 pounds over 28 days.

However, scaling up from research to commercial settings could yield different results. So far, implementing a high corn diet seems to be the easiest and most popular option.

“That appears to be the most common option that is being used in the industry. It is easy to implement, it is certainly affective,” Dr. John Patience of ISU said.

Dr. Patience says that one should be cautious when changing diets to ensure daily water, mineral, and protein needs are met.

For more COVID-19 resources, employee guidelines, adjusting rations information, and best practices for depopulating, click HERE.