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University of Minnesota Extension

Formulating farm-specific swine diets

Fitting diets to your farm

You can optimize nutrition on your farm by modifying your feeding program specific to your farm. Accurately determining and meeting pigs’ nutrient requirements is key to better feeding. A pigs’ nutrient requirements depend on many factors. Thus, one diet can’t meet the needs of all pigs in different swine operations.

The following image outlines the steps for developing and managing swine nutrition programs. As you follow each step, assess the current economic conditions and resources available to you.

Chart of Nutrition program

Factors that influence nutrient needs


Estimating nutrient needs at each production stage


Non-nutritive feed additives

In addition to antibiotics, there are numerous additives producers use to:

  • Increase the pigs’ willingness to eat the diet.
  • Keep the quality of the diet.
  • Improve digestion and utilization of the diet.

Some of these additives include:

  • Probiotics
  • Flavors
  • Sweeteners
  • Pellet binders
  • Clays
  • Antioxidants
  • Mold preventers
  • Enzymes
  • Organic acids
  • Yucca extract
  • Electrolytes

Contact us or your nutritionist for more information on the use and effectiveness of feed additives.


Monica Augenstein, former graduate student, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; Lee Johnston, Extension animal scientist; Gerald Shurson, Extension animal scientist; Jerry Hawton, professor emeritus of swine nutrition and management, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; and James Pettigrew, professor of animal science, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

Reviewed in 2019

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