Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment
Influence of Heulandit (Zeolite) Feed Supplementation on Growth and Carcasse Quality in Pig Progeny Testing
Taking advantage of the facilities of an ultra-modern pig progeny testing center (Chamber of Agriculture / Lower Austria) – heulandite – (main component sodium aluminiumsilicate, synthetic, "UNIPOINT Standard") was added at 3 % "on top" the standard testing ration fed ad libitum to 60 intact female and castrated male feeder pigs during the growing period (30 to 100 kgs individually weighed).
63 similar animals in a separated room served as unsupplemented control. The evaluation of growth and slaughter performance – including an economic evaluation based on actual market situation – was completed with the "top (about) 70 %" of each group (finished pigs). Despite of the diluting effect of the bulk addition the test group exceed the controls in feed intake (4,94 % P=0,0007) and daily gain (930 vs. 858 grs = 8,39 %, P<0,0001) as well as in feed conversion. The carcasse and meat qualities yielded similar parameters for both groups with a slight trend to meatier carcasses in the test animals. The overall productivity index proved aberage in the controls and was 8,5 % (P=0,0132) higher for the mineral bulk supplemented group. Under the prevailing unstable weather conditions (autumn-winter) a clear improvement of house climate was observed in connection to the supplementation (despite an acceptable air quality in the remaining houses).