Summer Diet Tips to Munch On

By Austin Langemeier, Nutritionist/Production Consultant – Sioux Nation Ag Center

The approach of warmer months also brings the opportunity to adjust your diets to best fit your pig’s needs. The heat and humidity of the summer season can bring unique challenges to a pig’s growth performance and feed utilization. As expected, in warmer temperatures a pig will consume less feed and will show a reduced average daily gain as a result. With this in mind, increasing the energy and nutrient density of your diets will allow your growing pigs to achieve the same rate of gain without eating as much feed as pigs would through the winter months. We will shortly discuss some ideas for sows, nursery and finishing pigs.

A sow can consume an immense amount of feed while nursing her litter. She needs all of these nutrients to maintain her body condition while milking. Yet, on a hot summer day a sow will tend to consume less feed to maintain a cooler body temperature. It would be wise to consider increasing the energy and concentration of other nutrients within your lactating diets in order for a sow to receive to appropriate amount of energy for her and her litter while consuming less feed.

In the growing period for finishing pigs, the same can be considered. With pigs eating less feed, increasing the overall nutrient density is certainly an option. With the current market prices, commodities like corn and soybean meal are pricing out ingredients like dried distiller grains. With that in mind, have a discussion with your nutritionist if your diets aren’t already adjusted to account for the added cost that DDGs are bringing to the final feed cost. Another ingredient to consider, especially in these warmer months, is chromium. Chromium in an essential trace mineral that has shown to improve growth performance and carcass leanness, and is inexpensive. By simply using an ingredient like chromium and adjusting the nutrient density of your diets, pigs can achieve an appropriate rate of gain even on a reduced feed intake.

Hoping that prices can rebound from an unusual spring, our anticipation is that the right diets and management of your nutrition program will allow you to bounce back this summer. If you have any questions or if we can be of assistance with your summer diets in your sows or growing pigs, feel free to reach out to the nutrition team at Sioux Nation Ag Center.