Performance of starter pigs fed diets based on malted and fermented maize.
Beyihayo, Geoffrey Akiiki
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Two growth trials involving crossbred (Large white x Landrace) starter pigs were conducted to compare feed intake, growth rate, feed conversion efficiency and cost of feeding malted (MTD), fermented (FTD), fermented maize grain after malting (M&F) and unprocessed (CM) maize grain based diets. In the first trial, sixty four piglets of four-to-six weeks of age initially weighing 6.14±1.3kg were allotted to sixteen groups of four balanced for sex and weight. The groups were assigned to four experimental diets in a completely randomized design (CRD) consisting of four treatments and four replicates. The trial lasted for 56 days. Diets were formulated to contain 17% crude protein and available to pigs ad libitum. At the end of the first trial, a digestion experiment using the total collection method was conducted to determine digestibility of DM, CP and energy. In the second trial, a total of sixty piglets weaned at 4, 5, 6 and 8 weeks of age were fed on a diet based on fermented maize grain (which exhibited the best performance and gross margins in trial 1) and their performance followed until piglets attained 8 weeks of age. Processing had no significant effect on the levels of CP, P and Ca (P > 0.05). Fermentation and malting increased the ash content to 1.80 and 1.67% respectively from 1.24% in non-processed maize. Processing reduced digestible energy from 4316.3 Kcal/kg in non-processed maize (control) to 4195.3, 4175.1 and 4138.5 Kcal/kg in malted, fermented and maize fermented after malting respectively. Average daily feed intake (ADFI) and gain (ADG) varied in a descending order of 0.726, 0.642, 0.554, 0.527 kg/day and 0.276, 0.244, 0.199, 0.158 kg/day for pigs fed on MTD, FTD, M&F and CM respectively. Feed conversion ratio was similar across all the diets. Apparent digestibility coefficients of DM, energy and CP were similar for all treatments (P > 0.05), although malted maize diets had consistently low values. All processing methods increased gross margins with fermented maize based diets resulting into the highest (890shs) gross margins (P < 0.05). These data indicate that using fermented maize in diets of starter pigs results in higher performance and reduced feed cost. Malted maize can be used for piglets of low weaning weights because of its ability to stimulate intake although at higher cost. There was a difference in ADFI, ADG and FCR (Feed/Gain) among piglets weaned at different ages when fed fermented maize based diets (P < 0.05). The highest ADG of 0.094kg/day (P < 0.05) was obtained when piglets were weaned at five weeks of age. Malted and fermented maize based diets are appropriate for weaning piglets as early as five weeks of age instead of the usual eight weeks and improve post-wean performance at low costs.