Anecdotally, poor water quality can negatively affect pig water intake and, therefore, pig performance on the farm. However, recent controlled studies from the University of Minnesota and South Dakota State University failed to define poor water quality based on its mineral content. Similarly, water flow can influence water use by pigs, as observed in a review of the South Dakota hog industry and facilities at South Dakota State University .
Although water consumption by itself does not appear to influence pig performance, Brumm and others have identified the link between water consumption and feed consumption. Specifically, the water to feed ratio increases from 2:1 to 3:1 as pigs grow. However, studies in poultry have identified that water intake can be increased by including phytase in the diet.
Phosphorus is a necessary nutrient for pigs added to diets as monocalcium or dicalcium phosphate in addition to phosphorus from feed ingredients. However, grains and oilseeds use phytate as a storage for phosphorus, which makes it largely unavailable to monogastric animals. Therefore, phytase is widely used in the swine industry for its ability to break phytate bonds, thereby releasing phosphorus for the animal to utilize and reducing the need for feed supplementation as well as phosphorus excretion via manure. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the water utilization of growing and finishing pigs fed diets without or with phytase included in the diet.
In a study conducted at the South Dakota State University Commercial Weaner to Finisher barn, grower and finisher pigs were housed at a rate of 26 pigs per pen. Each of the nine pens per treatment provided 8.8 square feet/pig and free feed and water were provided throughout the trial via a five-space feeder 5.8 feet in total width and two cup drinkers per pen, respectively. Treatment diets were corn-soya flour diets with monocalcium phosphate or corn-soya flour diets without monocalcium phosphate but with 500 FTU/kg phytase. The pigs received two-phase diets during the growing period and three phases during the finishing period. Limestone addition was adjusted to maintain total Ca:P ratios in diets. The phosphorus available in diets without monocalcium phosphate was about half that of the phosphorus available in diets with monocalcium phosphate. Diets containing monocalcium had more sodium, ash, total phosphorus, and total calcium, but similar neutral detergent fiber, crude fiber, crude protein, metabolizable energy, and lysine compared to diets without. monocalcium phosphate.
Pens of pigs were weighed every 14 days and feed disappearance was calculated according to a previously determined equation incorporating feed density and measurement from feed trough top to feed top. Water consumption was measured at each pen by recording the reading of the individual water meter.
There were no differences in average daily gain, average daily feed consumption or feed efficiency between pigs fed the different dietary treatments. However, water consumption was almost twice as high for pens of pigs fed diets without monocalcium phosphate but with phytase, compared to pens of pigs fed with monocalcium phosphate and no phytase diets at each of the weighing days during the study period. This effect has previously been described in birds, where it has been suggested that the increase in osmolality in the intestine due to the release of nutrients and minerals by phytase increases the demand for water to maintain homeostasis.
Additionally, the authors suggest that adjustments in ration formulation may be necessary to reduce water intake and improve litter quality. Although the issue of water excretion may be less important for pigs housed on slatted floors, total water use is an important consideration in sustainable pork production.
The use of phytase in pig diets is almost ubiquitous due to benefits such as flexibility in diet formulation and reduced need for phosphorus additions to the diet. However, further research may be warranted to determine how the inclusion of phytase influences water use.
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Lozinski, BM; Frederick, B.; Li, Y.; Saqui-Salces, M.; Shurson, GC; Urriola, Prince Edward Island; Wilson, ML; Johnston, LJ Effects of water quality on growth performance and health of nursery pigs. Transl. Anim. Science. 2022, 6, txac002. https://doi.org/10.1093/tas/txac002.
Miller, HW; McClellan, K.; Perez-Palencia, JY; Samuel, RS; Levesque, CL; Thaler, RC Impact of water flow on performance of finishing pigs. Transl. Anim. Science. 2022, 3, txac125. https://doi.org/10.1093/tas/txac125
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