Vegetable Proteins Sources for Diets of Suckling Pigs

North Carolina State University Swine Nutrition Research from 2004-2005. Technologies to rear suckling piglets apart from the sow recently have been implemented on large commercial farms, and success has been measured in both accelerated growth and in reduced pre-weaning mortality. However, diets formulated with cow-milk proteins can be cost-prohibitive. This experiment compared the replacement of whey protein (WHEY) with isolated soy protein (ISP), a hydrolyzed vegetable protein blend (HYDROL) or the latter in combination with whey protein (WHEY/HYDROL) in liquid diets fed to neonatal pigs from two to 19d of age. Pigs were housed individually in an environmentally controlled room and were offered the liquid diets ad libitum via a gravity-flow feeding device. On d 19, pigs fed the vegetable-protein diets weighed 20% more (8,179 211 g, P <0.05) than pigs fed the WHEY diet (6,805 244 g). The ADG was 35% higher for pigs fed the HYDROL diet than for pigs fed the WHEY diet. Similarly, ADFI was greater for WHEY/HYDROL and HYDROL diets compared to the WHEY diet, (P < 0.05). Overall, pigs fed the HYDROL diet had a 16% higher G/F than pigs fed the WHEY diet. These results are likely related to a poorer balance of amino acids (especially arginine) within the WHEY diet. Collectively, these data support the conclusion that both the hydrolyzed vegetable protein blend protein and isolated soy protein are good alternatives to whey protein in liquid diets formulated for neonatal pigs and that an appropriate balance of amino acids is more important than the source of protein per se.