Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

January 2001


Published in 2001 Nebraska Swine Report, compiled by Duane Reese, Associate Professor, Department of Animal Science. Prepared by the staff in Animal Science and cooperating Departments for use in Extension, Teaching and Research programs. Published by Cooperative Extension Division, Agricultural Research Division, and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
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Five trials were conducted to determine the effects of Yucca schidigera extract or calcium chloride addition to the diet on aerial ammonia concentration and growth performance in nursery pigs. Trials were divided into two groups: preliminary studies (two trials) and major study (three trials). Pigs were fed one of three diets in separate, environmentally regulated rooms: 1) Control, containing 23% CP; 2) Control diet plus 125 ppm of Yucca schidigera extract; and 3) Control plus 1.95% calcium chloride. Average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), and ADG/ADFI were recorded weekly. Aerial ammonia concentration was measured daily using aspiration detector tubes and during the last week of each trial using diffusion tubes. Blood samples were collected at the end of each trial to determine plasma urea concentration. There were no differences in ADG, ADFI, and ADG/ ADFI between pigs fed the control diet and pigs fed the Yucca schidigera diet. In all trials, pigs fed the calcium chloride diet had lower ADG and ADG/ADFI than pigs fed the other two diets (P < .05). In the preliminary studies (Trials 1 and 2), aerial ammonia concentration tended to be greater in the rooms in which pigs were fed the control diet than in the rooms with pigs fed the yucca extract diet (P < .08) or calcium chloride diet (P < .11). In the major study (Trials 3, 4, and 5), aerial ammonia concentration increased as the experiment progressed (P < .001) in all rooms. In the fourth week, ammonia concentrations were greater (P < .001) in the rooms that housed pigs fed the control diet than in the rooms in which the other two diets were fed. Dietary treatment did not affect plasma urea concentration (P >.10). This research has shown that ammonia concentration in nursery pig facilities can be reduced by dietary manipulation such as the addition of Yucca schidigera extract or calcium salts.