Dietary Fiber in Sow Gestation Diets An Economic Analysis

1998 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Swine Report. A previous research summary indicated sows fed high-fiber diets during gestation weaned an average of .3 more pigs/litter than sows fed lowerfiber, grain-based diets. Gestation diets containing 45 percent wheat midds, 20 percent soybean hulls, 25 percent alfalfa meal, 30 percent sugar beet pulp or 40 percent oats provide similar amounts of neutral detergent fiber (NDF), which should be sufficient to increase litter size weaned by .3 pigs per litter. An economic analysis suggests feeding a diet containing these sources of NDF would increase sow feed ingredient costs from 0 to $3.30/ sow/period (110 days) compared to feeding a corn-soybean meal-based diet. However, income generated from the additional pigs weaned/litter would, more than likely, offset as much as a $6 increase in sow feed ingredient cost that could be associated with feeding sows high-fiber diets during gestation. Producers may be able to improve their operations profitability and perhaps sow welfare by using fibrous feed ingredients in sow gestation diets.