In commercial farms a large variation in productive performance of pigs in the growing and finishing phase has been observed. This variation has been identified even when using the same genetics and similar nutritional plans. The sanitary status of the animals in the early phase of growth (when received from the nursery) can be considered one of the main factors contributing to this variation. Different sanitary status observed in farms can be determined by the different management practices (e. g. hygiene of facilities) and environment (e. g. temperature) adopted in the nursery phase. When subjected to poor management conditions, the animals' immune system is activated with consequent reduction in consumption and performance. Therefore, the objective of this project is to evaluate the physiological and metabolic response and performance of piglets submitted to different management and environment conditions in the nursery phase. This project is divided into two phases. In Phase 1 a survey will be conducted of the management practices adopted in the nursery phase according to the performance of farms. In this phase meetings will be held with field technicians and researchers to diagnose the management practices adopted in the nursery phase (hygiene, food, vaccine program, environment, etc.) according to the level of performance of the farms in relation to the Brazilian average (high, medium and low performance level). Initially, a spreadsheet will be systematized with all the information raised. Subsequently, within each performance category, the management practices normally performed in each production system will be described in detail. In Phase 2, an experiment will be conducted with the objective of evaluating the impact of management practices performed in the nursery phase (management and environment) on the physiological and metabolic responses and, consequently, on the animal health status. A total of 216 female piglets (6 kg of initial body weight) of high genetic potential line will be used. The animals will be housed in two nursery sheds. To simulate the management of a low- and high-performance farm condition, the data to be collected in Phase 1 will be used. The experimental period will be 42 days divided into three feeding phases. The experimental design for treatment arrangement will be completely randomized with two treatments (management conditions) using 36 replications (3 piglets/repetition). Diets will be similar under both conditions and formulated according to the nutritional requirements recommended by NCR (2012). Physiology and metabolism, body composition and productive performance will be the studied variables. The physiological (intestinal morphology and ileal digestibility) and metabolic (protein and AA metabolism, and immune response) responses will be evaluated by blood and tissue analysis (at the beginning, middle and end). The body composition of the animals will be evaluated using dual-beam X-ray absorptiometry equipment (DXA, GE Lunar Prodigy Advance, Madison, USA).
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: