Nutritional strategies for improved market hog competitiveness - SIP Initiative - Ontario Pork - Completed Research
Monday, August 10, 2020

Completed Research

Ontario Pork has a call for research proposals once a year. These projects were approved for funding by the board on recommendation of the research committee. If you have questions or need further information about the research posted here please contact Cristiane Mesquita at

Completed Research

Nutritional strategies for improved market hog competitiveness - SIP Initiative

Nutritional strategies for improved market hog competitiveness - SIP Initiative

Project 14-009 - Researchers: James Squires, Ira Mandall, Julang Li

OP project 14-009

James Squires, Ira Mandall, Julang Li, University of Guelph-Project completed in 2017.

SIP Initiative: Feeding programs for growing-finishing pigs to enhance global competitiveness (swine innovation porc)

Feed cost is by far the greatest cost of pig production (65-70%) and growing-finishing pigs account for about 80% of feed consumed. The continued high cost of feed demonstrates the need to develop cost-effective feeding strategies for growing-finishing pigs to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the Canadian pork industry. Under a large jointly funded project (Ontario Pork and Swine Innovation Porc), University of Guelph researchers and other Canadian collaborators worked on two strategic areas to address this issue: 1) Novel feedstuffs and enhanced nutritional values 2) Validation of feeding strategies.

Fermented soybean meal –Julang Li, University of Guelph

Dr. Li and her team isolated bacteria from fermented foods and the grass carp intestine, and selected strains that created powerful enzymes that work to break down protein, cellulose and starch (protease, cellulase and amylase). Using these selected bacteria for fermentation, it was found that they increased crude protein content of the feed by 5.32% - 8.27% and improved the amino acid profile by increasing certain essential amino acids after 24 hours of fermentation.  An animal trial revealed pigs fed fermented soybean meal had higher apparent intestinal digestibility (apparent ileal digestibility) of crude protein and ash compared with pigs fed unfermented soybean meal. This selected bacterial and improved fermentation procedure may have commercialization potential and the researchers are currently seeking industry partners to further this process.

Nutritional approach to control boar taint -Ira Mandell and Jim Squires, University of Guelph

An initial evaluation was carried out on the potential of certain feed additives to control boar taint, and therefore improve the quality of meat produced by intact male pigs.  Laboratory results showed that diatomaceous earth, bentonite, spent filter aids, and a hydrated sodium- calcium aluminosilicate (Jumpstart 360) were the most effective feed additives for binding androstenone and skatole, two compounds responsible for boar taint in intact male pigs. Three feeding trials took place after this evaluation.  None of the binding agents were able to decrease levels of androstenone. In the second trial, the binding agents were added to the diets when boars reached either 70 or 90 kg body weight and were fed up to slaughter. Feeding the pigs with hydrated sodium-calcium aluminosilicate decreased the levels of androstenone in the blood and had no impact on growth and meat quality characteristics. A third trial was then conducted to evaluate using wood charcoal, a new binding agent which is a feed ingredient approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. However, this binding agent had no effect on concentrations of androstenone and skatole and reduced weight gains in the study animals.

Additional reading:

Huber, L., Squires, E., de Lange, C. (2016) Plasma concentrations of hormones and growth factors in entire male pigs immunized against gonadotropin-releasing hormone. Article. Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 97(3): pp. 526-529. DOI:

Akhtar, N., Medeiros, S., Cai, H., de Lange, C., Li, J. (2016) Fermentation of soybean meal using newly isolated Bacillus amyloliquefaciens to improve its nutritional value. Abstract. University of Guelph Swine Research Day: May 4, 2016, Program and Proceedings. p. 24. Retrieved from:

Park, P., Mandell, I., de Lange, C., Squires, J. (2016) In vitro investigations on the use of non-nutritive sorbent additives to sequester boar taint compounds. Abstract. Journal of Animal Science. 94 (Suppl. 2): p. 47. DOI:

Squires, J. (2016) Solving the boar taint problem. Abstract. University of Guelph Swine Research Day: May 4, 2016, Program and Proceedings. p. 24. Retrieved from:

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