Phase-feeding is the common practice for pork producers to, that is where three to four diets are fed through the grower-finisher period. Blend-feeding, in which two diets are mixed together in varying ratios, allowing the diet to be changed weekly, or feeding the same diet through the grower-finisher period are possible alternatives to phase feeding. Blend feeding and feeding a single diet is proved to reduce digestible energy intake per kg live weight (LW) gain and hence reduced feed costs by approximately 3.5% compared to the conventional three-phase feeding regime with no impact on overall growth performance or conventional measures of carcass quality. A completely randomised block experiment was conducted using 147 female pigs (Large White × Landrace × Duroc, seven pigs/pen and seven replicate pens/treatment) at an average live weight (LW) of 30.1 kg ± 1.4 to examine the effect of feeding strategies on performance during the grower-finisher phase. Pigs were blocked and randomly allocated to the following feeding strategies on the basis of initial LW: (1) phase-feeding: diets changed when the average LW of pigs in the pen reached 30, 50 or 80 kg; (2) blend: diets changed weekly to meet the requirements of the average LW of pigs in the pen and; (3) single: the same diet fed throughout (formulated to meet the requirements of the pig at 60 kg LW). The experimental diets were fed for ten weeks.
There was no difference in growth performance at any time period between feeding strategies. Dressing percentage was lower in pigs fed the blend and single diet feeding strategies compared to phase-feeding. Pigs on the blend and single diet feeding strategy deposited more fat compared to those that were phase-fed. Intramuscular fat was also increased in pigs on the blend feeding strategy compared to pigs fed the single diet or phase fed. Feeding a single diet and blend-feeding appear to have some merit and either strategy may be appropriate under certain circumstances, for example, for smaller producers. However, the increase in fat deposition in the single diet and blend feeding strategy compared to the phase-fed strategy should be considered if producers are paid on a lean meat yield basis.
Moore, K. L., Mullan, B. P., & Kim, J. C. (2016). An evaluation of the alternative feeding strategies, blend feeding, three-phase feeding or a single diet, in pigs from 30 to 100kg liveweight. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 216, 273-280. doi:10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2016.04.001