Precision pig feeding: a breakthrough toward sustainability
Dr. Candido Pomar
Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Adjoint professor, Laval University
Adjoint professor, Sherbrooke University
Adjoint professor, Unesp, campus de Jaboticabal, Brésil
Dr. Pomar is a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada based at Sherbrooke (Lennoxville), Quebec, since 1991. He also acts as adjunct professor at Laval and Sherbrooke universities in Québec, and UNESP university in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Dr. Pomar obtained his agricultural Engineering degree in Madrid Polytechnic University (Spain) in 1980. After working for two years in the industry, he began studying at Laval University (Quebec) where he obtained a master’s degree in 1985. He continued his studies at the University of Michigan, and undertook a term working on the development of a mathematical model for swine production systems at the USDA-ARS Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska. This model served to complete his PhD presented at Laval University in 1989. In 2002 Dr. Pomar moved to the Scottish agricultural college near Edinburgh, UK, to review actual modelling approaches simulating population responses and predicting nutrient requirements.
Dr. Pomar is heading a research program in swine nutrition, mathematical modelling and carcass evaluation systems. Dr. Pomar pioneer the development of an innovative precision feeding and farming approach which will enhance profitability and durability of the livestock industry. Dr. Pomar has a large network of collaboration nationally and internationally and has contributed to training many graduate students. His publication record consists of 115 scientific papers, 69 of them peer reviewed, 16 book chapters, and 7 patent depositions and inventions.
Feed is the most important cost component in commercial growing-finishing pig production systems and represents between 60 and 70% of the overall production costs. Given that nutrients that are not retained by the animal or in animal products are excreted via the urine, faeces or heat, and that the efficiency by which domestic animals transform dietary nutrients into animal products is generally low, improving the nutrient efficiency can largely contribute to reducing production costs and improve the sustainability of livestock production systems. In growing animals fed with cereal-based diets, the sum of the undigested nitrogen and the losses associated with digestion, maintenance functions, and body protein deposition may represent more than 40% of the total ingested nitrogen and can reach values as high as 85%. Precision feeding offers immediate and tangible benefits to the pork producer given that feeding pigs individually with daily tailored diets reduces protein intake by more than 25%, feeding costs by more than 8%, N and P excretion by nearly 40%, and GHG emission by 6%.