DOI: 10.12924/of2015.01010050 |Publication Date: 5 November 2015

Exploring the Feasibility of Using Silage-Based Feed with Alternative Sources of Protein in Organic Pig Rations

Ruth C. Clements 1, * , Laura E. Higham 1 , Jo Smith 2 , Catherine L. Gerrard 2 , Mike C. Colley 1 , Konstantinos Zaralis 2 , Rebecca Nelder 2 , Bruce Pearce 2 , Annie Rayner 1 and Ashleigh Bright 1
1 FAI Farms Ltd, The Field Station, Wytham, Oxford, UK
2 The Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm, Hamstead Marshall, UK
* Corresponding author
Abstract: Current regulations for organic pig and poultry production systems permit feed ingredients of non-organic origin at an inclusion rate of up to 5 per cent. This is primarily due to concerns that there is an insufficient supply of organic protein on the European Union market, in terms of quality and quantity, to meet the nutritional requirements of pigs and poultry raised on organic farms. However, 100 per cent organic diets for monogastric livestock will become compulsory in the EU from 1 January 2018, and there is therefore a need to develop sustainable feeding strategies based on organic feeds. This feed trial conducted in the UK explores the feasibility of using a silage-based feeding system for Gloucester Old Spot pigs, and compares the inclusion of soya, beans and peas as protein sources in terms of pig growth performance. No significant difference in the pen mean daily live weight gain was observed during the grower phase (pen mean age of 11-14 weeks) between the diet groups. However, during the finisher phase (pen mean age of 15-22 weeks), pigs on the soya and pea rations had significantly faster growth rates than pigs fed the bean ration. It is speculated that the slight shortfall in growth rate observed in the pigs fed the bean ration may be offset by the lower cost of production of beans in the UK. This feasibility trial demonstrates that a 100 per cent organic diet for pigs using alternative, locally-grown sources of protein as part of a forage-based ration can provide a viable alternative to a soya-based diet.

Keywords: beans; forage; monogastrics; organic; peas; pigs; roughage; silage; soya; soybean

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2012 - 2017 by the authors; licensee Librello, Switzerland. This open access article was published under a Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).