Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

January 2000


Published in 2000 Nebraska Swine Report, compiled by Rodger Johnson, 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.
Swine reports website:


An experiment is being conducted on commercial swine operations to determine if plasma urea concentration can be used as an indicator of protein status in growing-finishing pigs. Swine producers in Eastern Nebraska are being selected to participate in this on-farm study. The experiment includes the completion of a 30-question survey and an on-farm visit for the collection of blood and feed samples. The survey includes questions about genetics, nutrition, housing and health. Preliminary results suggest that crude protein is overfed in most finishing diets. Gilts consistently have lower plasma urea concentrations than barrows when gilts and barrows are fed the same diet during the finishing growth period. This confirms the concept that gilts utilize protein more efficiently for lean growth. These results suggest that within an individual swine operation, plasma urea is a useful indicator of protein status in growing-finishing pigs.