Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

January 1998


Published in 1998 Nebraska Swine Report, compiled by Duane E. Reese, Associate Professor and Extension Swine Specialist, 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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A previous research summary indicated sows fed high-fiber diets during gestation weaned an average of .3 more pigs/litter than sows fed lower-fiber, grain-based diets. Gestation diets containing 45 percent wheat midds, 20 percent soybean hulls, 25 percent alfalfa meal, 30 percent sugar beet pulp or 40 percent oats provide similar amounts of neutral detergent fiber (NDF), which should be sufficient to increase litter size weaned by .3 pigs per litter. An economic analysis suggests feeding a diet containing these sources of NDF would increase sow feed ingredient costs from 0 to $3.30/ sow/period (110 days) compared to feeding a corn-soybean meal-based diet. However, income generated from the additional pigs weaned/litter would, more than likely, offset as much as a $6 increase in sow feed ingredient cost that could be associated with feeding sows high-fiber diets during gestation. Producers may be able to improve their operation’s profitability and perhaps sow welfare by using fibrous feed ingredients in sow gestation diets.