Animal Husbandry and Nutrition
Mimeograph Series No. 59-6
MILLET PASTURE VS. CONCRETE FOR --RAL_
R. B. Christmas, G. E. McCabe, H. D. W! lace, G. E, Combs
and A. Z, Palmer-
The relative merits of feeding growing-finishing swine on concre od
legume forage have been evaluated by Wallace et al. (I). Pigs gained s~
faster but not significantly so on the legume forage. The major differences
centered around production costs rather than pig performance. It has also been
demonstrated that feed restriction (75 80 percent of a full ration) does not
greatly increase the utilization of pasture (1, 2)..
This study was undertaken to compare the rate of gain, efficiency of feed
utilization, production costs and carcass characteristics of pigs full-fed on
concrete, pigs full-fed on millet pasture, and pigs limited-fed on millet pasture.
Forty-five weanling pigs of mixed breeding were divided by litter and weight
into three similar groups. The three groups of pigs were then fed according to
the following plan.
Lot I Full-fed in concrete confinement
Lot 2 Full-fed on millet pasture
Lot 3 Fed 75-80 percent of a full ration on
millet forage. Pigs in Lot 2 served
as the reference lot for regulation
of feed intake.
Christmas and McCabe, Research Assistants; Wallace, Combs and Palmer, Associ-
ate, Assistant and Associate Animal Husbandmen respectively, Florida Agricul-
tural Experiment Station. The assistance of W, E. Collins and L. S. Taylor,
Swine Herdsmen, is gratefully acknowledged.
Composition of Concentrate Mixture Fed to All Lots
Weaning to 125 Ibs. 125 Ibs. to 210 Ibs.
Ground yellow corn 77.0 84.3
Soybean oilmeal (44% solvent) 20,3 13.0
Ground limestone 1.0 1.0
Steamed bonemeal 1.0 1.0
Iodized salt 0.5 .0.5
Trace mineral mix 0.1 0.1
Fortafeed 2-49C (American Cyanamid)* 0.1 0.1
Aurofac 10-A (American Cyanamid)** 0.1 0.1
Contains 2,000 mg, riboflavin, 4,000 mg. pantothenic acid, 9,000 mg. niacin
and 10,000 mg, of choline chloride per lb.
** Contains 10 gm. chlortetracycline per Ib.
Pigs in Lots I and 2 were self-fed. Pigs in Lot 3 were hand-fed twice daily.
The pasture pigs (Lots 2 and 3) were placed in one acre plots of Starr millet at
the beginning of the test. The millet had been drilled in 38 inch rows at the
rate of 30 pounds per acre. Four hundred pounds of 6-6-6 fertilizer per acre was
applied at seeding time. The pastures were cultivated and clipped as needed to
insure optimum quantity and quality of succulent forage. Near the end of the trial,
pigs in Lot 3 were transferred to a two-acre plot of millet in order to insure
access to adequate forage.
The pigs in each lot were weighed off test individually as they approximated
220 pounds live weight. They were then slaughtered and carcass data were obtained.
The experiment was initiated June 7, 1958 and terminated November II, 1958.
Results and Discussion
A summary of the performance results is presented in Table I. Pigs full-fed
on concrete (Lot I) gained 1.61 pounds per day. Pigs full-fed on pasture (Lot 2)
gained 1.54 pounds per day. This difference was not statistically significant.
Pigs limited-fed on pasture (Lot 3) gained significantly slower than the full-fed
groups. The average daily gain for this group was 1.18 pounds. All three lots
required essentially the same amount of feed per pound of gain.
Since the average final weight of the lots varied from 216.1 to 225.4 pounds
an average gain of 176.6 pounds was used for pigs in all lots in calculating the
feed replacement value of the pasture. Total feed requirements were adjusted
accordingly. This tended to give a better estimation of the actual value of the
Table I. PERFORMANCE OF PIGS FED ON PASTURE VS. CONCRETE
Treatment Concrete Full-Fed. 75- ..of: 'Tr( t
on Pasture Ration on 3' ure
Lot Number I 2 3
Number of pigs 121/ 15 15
Days on feed 113 114 147
Av. initial wt., Ibs. 43.8 428 42.7
Av. final wt., Ibs. 225.4 217.7 216.1
Av. 0aily gain, Ibs. 1.61 1.54 1.I8:
Daily feed consumed per pig, Ibs. 5.44 5.15 4.03
Feed required per lbs. gain, Ibs. 3.39 3.36 3.42
Feed saved per pig by pasture, lbs. -- 5.3 -5.3
Acres pasture required per lot-- 0.5 1.0
Feed replaced per acre of pasture, Ibs.2/ 159.0 -79,5
Value of feed replaced per acre of pasture2' --- $5.56 $-2.78
Cost of pasture per acre'/ -- $24.62 $24.62
Net value of pasture per acre2 --- $-19.06 $-27,4
Total feed costs per 100 Ibs. pork $11.86 $12.23 $12.92
Mixed feed costs per 100 Ibs. pork $11.86 $11.76 $11.97
Pasture costs per 100 Ibs. pork --- $0.47 $0 95
Sale price of pigs per-cwt+ $19.00 $19.00 $19.00
Original cost-of pigs per head $12.00 $12.00 $12.00
Gross returns per head over feed and cost of pig $9.29 $7.7 $666
Gross returns per 100 Ibs, pork sold $4.12 $3.66 $3.03
**Gained significantly slower than either of other two lots. (P<.01)
I/One pig removed after II weeks because of unthriftiness. A second pig was removed because of an umbillical
hernia after II weeks on test. A third pig was not included in the final summary of res'sts because of ex-
tremely poor performance during the test.
2/An average gain of 176.6 pounds per pig for all lots was used for calculation since the lots were not weighed
off at identical final weights. Feed intake data were adjusted accordingly. This procedure permitted a more
valid estimate of pasture value.
2YSeed $5.70; Fertilizer $6.92; Land preparation, seeding, cultivation and clipping $12.00. Total -
$24.62 per acre.
The pigs that were full-fed on pasture (Lot 2) required only 5.3 pounds less
total feed per pig than those fed on concrete (Lot I). The pigs limited-fed on
pasture actually required 5.3 pounds more total feed per pig than those fed on
concrete. As in previous studies, feed restriction failed to improve forage utili-
zation by the growing-finishing pig.
The cost of the pasture was determined as $24.62 per acre (footnote in Table 1).
A pasture acreage requirement for each of the lots of pasture-fed pigs was estimated
simply by observation of the forage consumption of the pigs during the test. It
was estimated that the 15 full-fed pigs required 0.5 acre and the 15 limited-fed
pigs 1.0 acre. When the feed replacement value of the pasture was deducted from
the cost of growing the pasture it was determined that the net value of the pasture
was $-19.06 and $-27.40 per acre respectively for the full-fed and limited-fed pigs.
Considering only feed costs and the initial cost of the feeder pigs it was further
determined that gross returns per head were $9.29, $7.97 and $6.66 for the concrete-
fed pigs, full-fed pigs on pasture, and limited-fed pigs on pasture respectively.
These results clearly indicate that the use of millet pasture for growing-finishing
swine was not economical under the conditions of this experiment.
A summary of the carcass information is presented in Table 2. Differences in
Table 2. SUMMARY OF CARCASS DATA
Treatment Concrete Full-Fed 75-80% of Full
on Pasture Ration on Pasture
Lot Number I 2 3
Carcass Length 31.4 30.6 30.3
Av. Backfat thic ess, in. 1.61 1.47 1.37
Dressing percent 74.7 74.2 73.6
Percent Lean Cuts2 46.4 47.9 50.9
Loin eye are, sq. ins. 3.57 3.86 3.80
Av. US Grade-d 3.17 2.87 2.80
VChilled carcass weight expressed as a percentage of adjusted live weight (live
weight minus fill).
2/Total weight of loin, ham, picnic and butt expressed as a percentage of the
chilled carcass weight.
3/Figures were assigned to carcass grades as follows: I Cull; 2 Medium,
3 Choice No. 1, 4 Choice No. 2, 5 Choice No. 3.
carcass length due to treatment were not great. Both groups of pigs fed on pasture
tended to be leaner than the concrete-fed pigs as judged by backfat thickness, per-
cent lean cuts, and loin eye area.
An experiment, involving 45 pigs, has been conducted to compare performance
and economy of production for pigs fed in concrete confinement and on millet pasture
Pigs full-fed on concrete gained and converted feed at approximately the same
rate as pigs full-fed on pasture. Pigs limited-fed on pasture gained significantly
slower but required about the same amount of concentrates per pound gain as the
animals on concrete and those full-fed on pasture. This would indicate that con-
centrate restriction did not improve forage utilization.
Cost data clearly revealed that millet pasture for growing-finishing swine
was an unprofitable venture under the conditions of this experiment.
Carcass data indicated that the pasture-fed pigs were somewhat leaner than the
pigs fed on concrete. This was particularly true for the restricted-fed pigs.