If you’re keeping up with the research on feeding conjugated linoleic acid to pigs, here’s some additional information for you. Iowa State University researchers report that feeding CLA decreased backfat and increased loineye muscle in market hogs.

One group of pigs received CLA for the entire grow/finish period. A second group was fed CLA during the final 128 pounds of gain. A third group received its CLA allotment during the last 64 pounds of gain. A control group was fed soybean oil instead of CLA to maintain the same feed energy levels.

All of the pigs had 25 percent less backfat measured at the 10th rib and a 10 percent increase in loineye muscle area. Gain-to-feed ratio increased for pigs fed CLA during the final 64 pounds and 128 pounds. Iowa State researchers saw the greatest benefit in the group fed the fatty acid for the final 128 pounds of gain.

“There is an optimum length of time to feed CLA to pigs, but producers will have to look at their systems, the genetics of their herds and the concentration of CLA,” says J. Christopher Sparks, Iowa State swine nutrition graduate student and researcher.

The CLA used in the experiments was derived from sunflower oil. Iowa State has been feeding CLA to animals to study its effects since 1998 when it formed a CLA Research Interest Group.

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