Forages in the form of pasture, as part of a complete feed, or silage, can be used successfully in pork production. Prior to 1950, pasture was considered a vital component in most swine feeding programs because it provided vitamins, minerals, and unidentified growth factors. Forages may have special applications in diets for organic swine production. Forage species, maturity, growing conditions, and grazing habits of pigs all influence the nutritional value of the forage consumed. Unfortunately, there are few data available to estimate the quantity of forage consumed by pigs and the nutritional value of that forage. Consequently, most nutritionists give little or no nutritional credit to the forage when formulating diets for pastured pigs. Stored forage used in the diet or fed as silage can be analyzed for nutrient content. Nutrient content of the forage can be considered in diet formulation realizing that digestibility of those forage nutrients generally is lower than that of grains. Pork Industry Handbook (PIH-126), Forages for Swine, outlines some specifics on utilizing forages for swine. Some observations from that document include:
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