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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition, Growth and Physiology » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #341736

Research Project: Improved Nutrient Efficiency of Beef Cattle and Swine

Location: Nutrition, Growth and Physiology

Title: Feeding behavior of grow-finish swine and the impacts of heat stress

Author
item CROSS, AMANDA - South Dakota State University
item Brown-Brandl, Tami
item Keel, Brittney
item CASSADY, JOSEPH - South Dakota State University
item Rohrer, Gary

Submitted to: Translational Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/13/2020
Publication Date: 4/1/2020
Citation: Cross, A.J., Brown-Brandl, T.M., Keel, B.N., Cassady, J.P., Rohrer, G.A. 2020. Feeding behavior of grow-finish swine and the impacts of heat stress. Translational Animal Science. 4(2):986-992. https://doi.org/10.1093/tas/txaa023.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/tas/txaa023

Interpretive Summary: Heat stress is a major economic and animal well-being factor affecting pork production. Utilizing a feed monitoring system in commercial-type conditions will lead to a greater understanding of impacts of temperature. Scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Clay Center, NE, and South Dakota State University conducted a study utilizing a feed monitoring system that is representative of commercial conditions to determine feeding behaviour patterns of grow-finish pigs throughout the year and to identify changes that occurred during heat stress events. Feeding behaviour was compared between temperature-humidity index (THI) categories representing biologically relevant categories: Normal (THI < 23.33°C), Alert (23.33°C /= 28.88°C). Feeding behaviour differences among breeds and sex were observed across all THI categories. These differences demonstrate that heat stress affects sire breeds and sexes differently. This information will allow producers to enhance their ability to properly care for their pigs during both normal and heat stress events.

Technical Abstract: Heat stress has negative impacts on pork production, particularly in the grow-finish phase. During heat stress events, the feeding behaviour of pigs is altered to reduce heat production. Several different systems have been developed to study feeding behaviour. Those systems are not an accurate representation of grow-finish commercial production, as feed intake is monitored for only one pig at a time. The objective of this study was to utilize a feed monitoring system, representative of commercial conditions, to determine feeding behaviour patterns of grow-finish pigs throughout the year and to identify changes that occurred during heat stress events. Feeder visit data were collected on barrows and gilts (n = 932) from 3 different sire breeds, Landrace, Yorkshire, and Duroc, between May 2014 and April 2016. Days in the study were partitioned into groups based on their maximum temperature-humidity index (THI), where a THI less than 23.33°C was classified as “Normal”, a THI between 23.33°C and 26.11°C was classified as “Alert”, a THI between 26.11°C and 28.88°C was classified as “Danger”, and a THI greater than 28.88°C was classified as “Emergency”. Feeding behavioral differences among breeds and sex were observed across all THI categories. Landrace-sired pigs had fewer feeder visits compared to Duroc- and Yorkshire-sired pigs. Gilts had fewer feeder visits than barrows in all THI categories. Differences in feeding behaviour patterns between THI categories demonstrated that heat stress reduced the feeding duration of Landrace-sired pigs without any dramatic effects on the other pigs in the study. During elevated temperatures, all pigs tended to increase feeding events during the early (03:00–05:59) and late (18:00–20:59) periods of the day. Utilizing a feed monitoring system that is a more accurate representation of commercial conditions will lead to a greater understanding of feeding behavior among breed types and sexes during heat stress, allowing producers to enhance their ability to properly care for their pigs during both normal and heat stress events.