The costliest diet you feed goes into young nursery pigs. Ingredients such as spray-dried porcine plasma and dried skim milk are expensive, though effective, sources of nutrition.
Another product ù spray-dried wheat gluten ù shows potential to provide excellent pig performance at a lower cost than the previous options.
Produced during the milling of hard red wheat, spray-dried wheat gluten offers several benefits in a phase-1 nursery diet.
Young pigs find it more digestible than soybean meal.
It’s less expensive than spray-dried porcine plasma.
It improves pellet quality without the need for binding agents if used at 2.5 percent or more of the diet.
Trials show it promotes pig growth better than dried skim milk. It’s also cheaper than dried skim milk.
At Kansas State University, a research team of Brian Richert, Lark Burnham, Joe Hancock and Robert Hines conducted nursery trials with wheat gluten from 1991 to 1995. Results showed consistent benefits of spray-dried wheat gluten.
One trial showed an 18 percent boost in average daily gain compared to pigs receiving dried skim milk. A second trial found a 13 percent boost in average daily gain for pigs weaned at 23 days and staying in the nursery for 37 days.
A 1993 trial found pigs fed a combination of spray-dried wheat gluten and spray-dried porcine plasma boasted gains of 34.3 pounds in the 35-day experiment. Pigs fed wheat gluten gained 32.2 pounds and those fed porcine plasma alone gained 31.9 pounds. A control group gained only 29.8 pounds.
Wheat-gluten diet costs were $1.22 per pig less than the plasma diet.
A 1995 trial found using a 50/50 combination of spray-dried wheat gluten and spray-dried porcine plasma offered better average daily gains than any other combination of the two products. And it did so at 8 percent less cost than 100 percent spray-dried porcine plasma.