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Precision feeding in pigs (Interview with Dr. Aline Remus)

Dr. Edgar Oviedo collaborator and co corresponding author for nutriNews International had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Aline Remus regarding some of her research on precision feeding in pigs. Dr. Remus is a researcher at the Sherbrooke Research and Development Centre belonging to Agri Food Canada, Agri Research Canada. This interview took place during the 7th EAAP International Symposium on Energy and Protein Metabolism and Nutrition (ISEP 2022) held in Granada (Spain) from September 12-15, 2022. Energy Dr. Oviedo: We are here at ISEP 2022 with Dr. Aline Remus who will be presenting during the conference. She will be talking about the research that they are conducting on individual variability of pig performance. I want to thank you Aline for participating in this interview series for our podcast channel. I like to star off by asking you about how you are carrying out this research, and what have been your findings up until now? Dr. Aline Remus: Thank you for having me. It is a pleasure to be here with you today. My primary research focus is on precision feeding and nutrition in growing and finishing pigs. Where we try to understand the variability in animal’s growth performance. If you look at animals that have the same genetics, similar body weight, similar age, they still grow at different rates. We see very heterogeneous populations within our farms, which means there is great variability when we reach slaughter weight, and this results in significant economic losses. As we should have animals that should arrive the slaughterhouses at 120 kg, at least for here in Canada, but we are seeing animals that arrive with 80 kg, others at 150 kg and this is a problem. Besides this, we are feeding these animals equally which increases the costs, as well a generating significant environmental impact. Due to the fact that animals have different nutritional requirements, and if we don’t account fo this, we may be feeding animals in excess in regards to their requirements, while we may be underfeeding others and losing performance. Therefore, if we can understand how they use nutrients differently, we can tailor the diets of each individual to maximize growth performance, profitability while decreasing environmental impacts. So, it’s in this line that we are trying to work. Dr. Oviedo: That is very interesting. I understand all of this research is related to your efforts on studying precision feeding and finding ways in which to improve the determination of nutrient requirements in individual animals and even on how to model this, in order to develop more accurate tools that can be used in the field. Could you tell us from the molecular steps that you are taking according to the papers that you have presented here at ISEP, what is the next step to integrating all of the information that you have gathered in your research? Dr. Aline Remus: Something that we have observed is that when pigs are in the post weaning stage, they arrive with similar weights, but then we provide them with standard diets and they use these nutrients differently. Therefore, within the same group you will have animals with high, medium and low protein deposition, and we want to understand what is the cause of this variability. Our findings have shown that pigs with high protein deposition tend to be very efficient in in their use of nutrients, so in this case there is not much more than we can do as they are already performing at their top capacity.   However, when we look at our low protein deposition pigs which are those that are growing at a slower rate, have a lower Average Daily Gain (ADG), they have some markers related to inflammation, to oxidative stress, etc. … Read full interview here

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