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Accounting for individual variability in modelling the response of pigs to the nutrient supply

Inra Prod Anim 25(1) 17-28

L. BROSSARD¹ ,², N. QUINIOU³, J.-Y. DOURMAD¹ ,², J. VAN MILGEN¹ ,²

1INRA, UMR1348 Physiologie, Environnement et Génétique pour l'Animal et les Systèmes d'Elevage,

F-35590 Saint-Gilles, France

2Agrocampus Ouest, UMR Physiologie, Environnement et Génétique pour l'Animal et les Systèmes

d'Elevage, F-35000 Rennes, France

3IFIP- Institut du Porc, Pôle Techniques d'Elevage, BP 35104, F-35651 Le Rheu, cedex, France

Abstract

Knowledge of amino acid requirements in growing pigs is required to formulate diets that optimize the feed efficiency and potentially limit the environmental impact of pig production. However, not all pigs have the same amino acid requirements, and thus the same responses to a defined nutrient supply, resulting from the variation in growth potential between pigs. The objective of this review was to discuss the tools available to assess the variation in amino acid requirements in growing pigs. We also demonstrate how the integration of variability in modelling tools is possible and allows optimizing feeding strategies. Current experimental techniques allow defining the requirement of individual animals, but the extrapolation of the results obtained is limited because few animals can be studied simultaneously. Although a sufficient number of data will be required, accounting for individual variability in pig growth models allows for a dynamic analysis of requirements of large populations. Using these models to simulate populations instead of a single average pig, feeding strategies can be defined that are adapted to the studied populations and optimize performance and economical results while reducing environmental impact. Accounting for individual variability in growth modelling is also essential to develop new technologies, such as precision feeding.

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