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InraPorc: A model and decision support tool for the nutrition of growing pigs

van Milgen, Jaap, Valancogne, Alain, Dubois, Serge, Dourmad, Jean-Yves, Sève, Bernard, Noblet, Jean
Animal feed science and technology 2008 v.143 no.1-4 pp. 387-405
mathematical models, decision support systems, swine, animal nutrition, swine feeding, nutrient requirements, computer software, nutrients, energy metabolism, amino acid metabolism, animal growth
Animal production is facing new challenges that call for a more integrative approach towards nutrition. Although considerable research progress has been made by the development of mathematical models of nutrient utilisation in farm animals, practical application of these models has been rather limited. The objective of the InraPorc® project is to integrate the current state of knowledge in a nutritional model for growing pigs and sows, and make it available as a decision support tool to end-users. The objective for the growing pig (15-150kg BW) model is to analyse nutrient utilisation for characterised pig types and to evaluate the effects of using different nutritional strategies in terms of nutrient utilisation, performance and carcass characteristics. As model parameters related to feed intake and growth potential are adjusted by the model user, growth (in an absolute sense) is not predicted. The model is based on the transformation of dietary nutrients to body protein and lipid, which are then used to predict body weight, lean body mass and backfat thickness. The representation of nutrient utilisation is mostly based on concepts used in net energy and ideal protein systems. Driving forces of the model include feed intake, the partitioning of energy between protein and lipid deposition, and availability of dietary protein and amino acids. Using literature data, the model appeared reasonably well capable of predicting the consequence of a nutrient intake restriction. The decision support tool is available at Through a user-friendly interface, the tool can be used to visualise different aspects of nutrient utilisation and excretion.