Two experiments were conducted to determine the effects of increasing amounts of soybean meal (SBM) in swine diets and estimate the energy value of SBM. A total of 2233 pigs (PIC 337 × 1050, Hendersonville, TN) and 3796 pigs (PIC 359 × C40), initially 11.0 kg and 17.6 kg body weight (BW), were used in Exp. 1 and 2, respectively. In Exp. 1, pigs were placed in 92 pens each containing 20 to 27 pigs. In Exp. 2, pigs were placed in 84 pens each containing 37 to 43 pigs. Treatments were assigned in a randomized complete block design with BW as the blocking factor. Dietary treatments consisted of 21%, 27%, 33%, or 39% SBM in Exp. 1 and 17.5%, 22%, 26.5%, 31%, 35.5%, or 40% SBM in Exp. 2, obtained by changing the inclusion rate of feed-grade amino acids and corn grain. For Exp. 1, representative samples of corn grain, SBM, and distillers dried grains with solubles were analyzed for total AA content prior to diet formulation. For Exp. 2, diets were formulated using NRC (2012) nutrient loadings. Treatment diets were fed for 21 and 22 d (Exp. 1 and 2) and there were 23 replicates in Exp. 1 and 14 replicates in Exp. 2. Pigs were weighed and feed disappearance measured weekly to calculate average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), gain-to-feed ratio (G:F), and caloric efficiency (CE). Data were analyzed with block as a random effect and treatment as a fixed effect, and contrasts were constructed to test the linear and quadratic effects of increasing SBM. In Exp. 1, there was a tendency (linear, P = 0.092) for a decrease in ADFI as SBM increased. There was a tendency (P = 0.090) for a quadratic response for ADG, with a decrease in ADG observed with 39% SBM inclusion. Pigs fed diets with increasing SBM had a tendency (quadratic, P = 0.069) for an increase in G:F up to 33% SBM and an improvement (linear, P = 0.001; quadratic, P = 0.063) in CE with increasing SBM. Using CE to estimate the energy of SBM relative to corn, a value of 105.4% of corn energy or 2816 kcal/kg NE was determined using all data points. When removing the CE value of the 39% SBM treatment due to the quadratic tendency, SBM was estimated to have 121.1% of corn energy or 3236 kcal/kg NE. In Exp. 2, there was a decrease (linear, P = 0.001) in ADFI. Pigs fed increasing SBM had a tendency (linear, P = 0.065) for reduced ADG but an improvement (linear, P = 0.001) in G:F and CE as SBM increased. The energy value of SBM was estimated as 124.7% of corn energy or 3332 kcal/kg NE.
The results suggest that feeding increasing levels of SBM improves G:F and CE. The energy value of SBM was estimated to be between 105% and 125% of corn, which is much greater than the NRC (2012) would indicate.