Performance and Carcass Composition of Growing-finishing Pigs Fed Wheat or Corn-based Diets
The objective of this experiment was to compare corn and wheat in finishing pig diets in order to determine whether performance, carcass quality, fatty acid composition or fat colour is altered by choice of cereal grain. A total of 126 crossbred pigs were used in this experiment. At the start of the experiment, a portion of the experimental animals were assigned to receive a wheat-based diet formulated using soybean meal as the sole source of supplementary protein. The remainder of the pigs were assigned to a corn-based diet formulated to supply a similar level of lysine (0.65%) and energy (3,300 kcal/kg DE). At two week intervals, a portion of the pigs on the corn-based diet were switched to the wheat-based diet so that a gradient was produced with pigs being fed the corn and wheatbased diets for different proportions of the finishing period ranging from 100% on wheat to 100% on corn. There were no significant differences in the growth rate of pigs fed the two diets (p = 0.834). Pigs fed wheat tended to consume slightly less feed (p = 0.116) and had a significantly improved feed conversion (p = 0.048) compared with pigs fed corn. Choice of cereal did not affect dressing percentage (p = 0.691), carcass value index (p = 0.146), lean yield (p = 0.134), loin fat (p = 0.127) or loin lean (p = 0.217). Fatty acid composition of backfat was unaffected by the cereal grain fed (p>0.05). Total saturated fatty acid content was 33.31% for both corn and wheat fed pigs (p = 0.997) while the polyunsaturated fatty acid content was 12.01% for corn fed pigs and 11.21% for wheat fed pigs (p = 0.257). The polyunsaturated/saturated ratio was 0.36 for pigs fed corn and 0.34 for pigs fed wheat (p = 0.751). Hunter Lab Colour Scores indicated no difference either in the whiteness or yellowness of the fat. In conclusion, wheat can substitute for corn in growingfinishing pig rations without detrimental effects on pig performance. There were no differences in either the fatty acid composition of backfat or in backfat colour indicating that the decision to use wheat vs. corn needs to be made on economic grounds rather than being based on their effects on fat quality.
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