When I ended my 2 year Army enlistment and began graduate school 38 years ago swine nutritionists were just beginning to talk about lysine as a critical nutrient in swine diets as opposed to crude protein. The 1974 version of the University of Nebraska Swine Diet Suggestions extension circular still talked about crude protein requirements assume a corn/soybean meal basal diet.
I remember participating in extension meetings in Indiana where producers still thought that all diets needed to contain some meat and bone meal. The emphasis of many meetings at that time was to convince producers that diets formulated with soybean meal and dical were ok for growing pigs. While the HogCon 40 product from the local feed dealer provided for the pigs needs as known then, there were other options.
Fast forward to today’s nutrition discussions and we’re still talking about soybean meal. However, today’s discussion concerns the possibility of a limited supply next summer and options for SID or TID available amino acids and TTTD or STTD phosphorus.
We’ve come a long way in our understanding of the nutritional needs of pigs. When we combine the improved nutritional understanding with improved housing conditions (a fully slatted barn at 65F in the winter versus a Cargill floor in a snow storm), improved feeders and improved genetics we have the basis for today’s world class pig performance. This past fall I’ve seen quite a few data sets of grow-finish pigs growing faster than 2.0 lb/d. Even with ddgs in the diet, overall feed conversions continue to improve.