A major challenge to improving swine feeding programs is adopting new techniques to improve the accuracy of determining protein requirements.
This is important for a variety reasons: First, there are currently many different commercial populations of pigs (commonly called genotypes) and these different populations may have different protein requirements because of their different lean growth potentials. Secondly, dietary protein levels should be carefully tailored to pigs’ lean growth potential because both inadequate and excessive feeding of protein can reduce performance and increase production costs. Finally, it is too expensive and time consuming to perform traditional feeding and carcass analysis experiments for every possible population. Therefore, a simple procedure to identify protein requirements of growing-finishing pigs is needed.
This study investigated the use plasma urea concentrations as an index of the protein requirements of different pig populations. Plasma urea was chosen because urea is produced when the amino acids that make up proteins are broken down. High plasma urea concentrations may indicate that too much protein is being fed.
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