Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Animal Science


South Dakota farmers each year produce approximately 2 million bead of hogs which are valued at 75 to 100 million dollars. The income derived from the sale of hogs makes up approximately 20 percent of their cash fars income. The financial return received by the swine producer is an indication of his success. This success will depend in part upon the kind and cost of ration and the gaining ability of the pigs receiving this ration. The most important factor affecting profits in pork production is the cost of production. Recent studies indicate that approximately 80 percent of the total cost required to grow and fatten the weaned pig to a weight of around 225 pounds if for feed. Investigators in the past experiments have found that a decided improvement in rate of gain was shown by pigs which received levels of 5 to 15 percent of alfalfa. Due to the nature of the digestive system of swine and their supposed inability to utilize crude fiber, amounts beyond this level were generally considered excessive. Field-cured legume hay of good quality not only supplies carotene and vitamin D, but it is also an excellent source of the known B-complex vitamins. Recent studies in the field of nutrition have shown that B-complex vitamins are important for fast and efficient gains. In addition it has been pointed out in previous trials with livestock that alfalfa supplies certain unknown factors that may be deficient under continuous dry lot conditions. Other benefits from including alfalfa in the ration are that it helps to balance the ration in protein and is rich in calcium. South Dakota produces an abundant supply of green leafy sun-cured alfalfa hay each year. It is of particular value for bay, which may be fed with good results to all classes of livestock. In most areas of the state it normally furnishes at least one cutting each season. There moisture conditions are favorable, it furnishes two or three cuttings without harmful effects on the stand. Experiments have shown that when alfalfa is fed at the 15 percent level in a growing-fattening ration, as much as 24 pounds of concentrate might be saved per pig during the period from weaning to market. Considering the 2 million head of hogs which are normally produced in South Dakota this could seen a total saving in concentrates of over 24 thousand tons. The present experiment was undertaken to determine whether the use of alfalfa hay, fed to growing-fattening pigs in greater amounts than what has previously been reported, was an economically sound method of producing pics and if this type of feeding operation might yield lesser carcasses that would still show a satisfactory quality.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Alfalfa as feed
Swine -- Feeding and feeds


Includes bibliographic references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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