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Interpretive Summary: High inclusion rates of hybrid rye instead of corn in diets for growing-finishing pigs do not influence the overall growth performance and most carcass traits are not influenced by hybrid rye

By: Dr. Emily Taylor

Hybrid rye has shown minimal impact on growth performance and carcass characteristics when used to replace barley and wheat. The current study's objective is to evaluate the use of hybrid rye as a replacement for corn in diets for growing and finishing pigs without impacting growth performance, carcass characteristics, or meat quality. 

Four treatments were divided amongst 128 pigs over three phases. Within each phase, pigs were fed either a control diet that consisted of corn and soybean meal or a diet in which corn from the control diet was replaced with hybrid rye at concentrations of 33%, 66%, or 100%. As hybrid rye increased in the diet during phase one, average daily gain (ADG) and average daily feed intake (ADFI) decreased. Early in stage three, gain:feed (G:F) increased; however, it decreased with the addition of more hybrid rye in the diet. Overall, ADG, ADFI, and G:F were not significantly different among treatments. In addition, Carcass traits were not impacted, with the exception of loin (visual) and backfat (instrumental L*) color being paler with greater concentrations of hybrid rye in the diet. 

The authors concluded that feed intake tended to be reduced with greater concentrations of hybrid rye in the grower and late finisher pig diets. However, it is suggested that this reduction could be mediated if hybrid rye was introduced to the pigs earlier in life. In summary, hybrid rye was well utilized by the grow-finish pigs and did not impact carcass characteristics. It is suggested that hybrid rye may be included in a diet as a substitute for corn without compromising overall growth performance.

This article is available in the Journal of Animal Science.