The International Conference on Feed Efficiency in Swine was held this week in Omaha, Neb., featuring scientific presentations delivered by experts from all over the world.

Presentations addressed a variety of factors that impact swine feed efficiency including feeding methods, herd management factors, feed ingredients, genetic selection, barn environment as well as impacts of disease.

Organized and conducted by Iowa State University and Kansas State University, the conference was funded by a USDA grant and focused on the importance of a broad scientific approach to improving feed efficiency during times of high feed costs.

The endeavor involves a multi-disciplinary approach to the topic and includes scientists and disciplines from many areas of animal science. “It is a very exciting project for us to be involved in,” said John Patience, professor, applied swine nutrition, Iowa State University. “It is a five year project devoted exclusively to feed efficiency in swine.”

A similar conference is planned for 2016 which will review the findings of the on-going research funded by the USDA grant.

“Higher feed costs brings a re-focus on improved feed efficiency,” said Steve Pollmann, president of western operations, Murphy-Brown, LLC. “With rising feed costs, the financial impact of feed efficiency increases.”

Topics covered in the conference included achieving the proper levels of amino acids in swine diets, management of sanitation and biosecurity programs, hog-marketing strategies and the effect of environmental temperatures on feed efficiency.

Also covered in the conference were feed efficiency advantages offered by pelleted feeds as well as benefits of liquid feeding systems.

“We offered a great diversity of speakers, some with practical recommendations for on-farm application as well as scientists delivering information focusing on the more technical aspects of feed efficiency,” said Patience. “We were pleased that several international speakers were able to present a perspective from countries around the world on their advances in feed efficiency technology.”

According to Patience, the $4.7 million grant involves five institutions in four countries and will be devoted exclusively to improving feed efficiency in swine.

Presenters included C.F.M. De Lange, University of Guelph; Jack Dekkers, Iowa State University; John Pluske, Animal Research Institute, Perth, Australia; Pieter Knap, PIC Germany; David Renaudeau, INRA, Guadeloupe, France; Rodney Johnson, University of Illinois; Charles Stark, North Carolina State University, Steve Dritz, Kansas State University, Frank Dunshea, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; and Aaron Gaines, The Maschhoffs, Carlyle, Ill.

Mike Tokach, Kansas State University professor and swine nutritionist, presented data on feeding practices and barn management strategies that impact feed efficiency.

The event, held at Omaha’s CenturyLink Center, drew 440 attendees.