In 2015, 192 million kilogrammes of pork meat were produced in Finland, which is nearly half of all meat production. In recent years, the number of pig farms has fallen, but the average size of farms has increased.
Luke’s pig research involves extensive cooperation with the meat and feed industry, guidance, teaching and administration. The research is focused on the feeding and nutritional needs of pigs (sows, piglets and pigs bred for meat production) as well as their well-being, health and the environmental effects of production, the quality of meat and the profitability of production.
Feed value work is an important task of research. The consistency information on feed and feeding recommendations must be updated, as pig breeding produces pigs that grow faster and with better feed efficiency and contain less fat than before. With the help of feeding recommendations, the profitability of production is improved and harmful environmental effects are reduced.
Starch, ethanol and dairy industry waste flows are used in feeding pigs. One of the research areas of Luke is supplementing them with other ingredients for feed that meet the needs of animals.
New sources of protein needed
Luke is studying new domestic ingredients with which the protein self-sufficiency of feeding can be improved and the dependence on imported soya can be reduced. New sources of protein are being sought in the by-product flows of the food industry and new or less used ingredients, such as broad bean and other pulses, silage, insects and clams.
The nutrition research regarding pigs is also connected to behavioural and well-being studies. Luke is involved in the extensive EU project called PROHEALTH, which studies the effects of animal matter and feeding on the development of foot diseases.