Date of this Version
Dietary betaine’s effect on growth performance and carcass composition of finishing barrows was investigated. Two experiments were conducted to assess whether betaine improves growth and/or carcass characteristics. In the first experiment, barrows were fed either a control diet or a diet supplemented with betaine and were either crowded or not crowded. Shoulder weight was increased in pigs fed betaine. Generally, betaine had no effect on growth performance and carcass characteristics. The second experiment attempted to assess whether betaine can replace methionine in finishing diets. Betaine tended to be associated with increased fat-free lean gain. This experiment failed to show that betaine increases lean tissue deposition in situations where feed intake is decreased. Additionally, this research suggests that the current methionine recommendations may be greater than required for maximal growth. Because of the variability of responses to betaine in the literature, it is advised that betaine’s efficacy and cost effectiveness be assessed on a farm-to-farm basis.