Three experiments were conducted to determine the effects of increasing soybean meal (SBM) levels by replacing feed-grade amino acids (AA) in corn, corn dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS), and corn-wheat midds-based diets on growth performance of late finishing pigs (n = 4,406) raised in commercial facilities. Across all experiments, pens of pigs were blocked by initial bodyweight (BW) and randomly assigned to 1 of 5 dietary treatments. All diets were formulated to contain 0.70% standardized ileal digestible (SID) Lys and varying amounts of feed-grade AA. All diets were formulated to meet or exceed minimum essential AA requirement estimates as a ratio to Lys. In Exp. 1, 1,793 pigs (initially 104.9 ± 4.9 kg) were fed corn-based diets and pens of pigs were assigned treatments with increasing SBM from 5% to 20%. Overall, average daily gain (ADG) and feed efficiency (G:F) improved (linear and cubic, P ≤ 0.02) as dietary SBM increased, with the greatest improvement observed as SBM increased from 5% to 8.75% and little improvement thereafter. In Exp. 2, 1,827 pigs (initially 97.9 ± 4.3 kg) were fed diets containing 25% DDGS with SBM levels increasing from 0% to 16%. Overall, feed efficiency marginally improved (linear, P ≤ 0.10) as SBM increased, with the greatest performance observed when diets contained 8% SBM and similar performance thereafter with 12 or 16% dietary SBM. In Exp. 3, 786 pigs (initially 96.7 ± 3.2 kg) were fed diets that contained 30% wheat midds and dietary SBM from 0% to 16%. Final BW of pigs increased (linear, P < 0.05) and overall ADG and G:F improved (linear and cubic, P < 0.05) as SBM increased.
The combined results of the three experiments suggest that inclusion of at least 4% to 8% dietary SBM at the expense of feed-grade amino acids in corn-based diets with or without grain coproducts can improve growth performance of late-finishing (greater than 100 kg) pigs.