Nutritional evaluation of different varieties of sorghum and the effects on nursery pig growth performance

Lori L. Thomas, Charmaine D. Espinosa, Robert D. Goodband, Hans H. Stein, Mike D. Tokach, Steve S. Dritz, Jason C. Woodworth, Joel M. Derouchey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Five experiments were conducted to determine the standardized total tract digestibility (STTD) of P, digestible energy (DE), metabolizable energy (ME), and standardized ileal digestibility (SID) of amino acids (AA) in three sorghum varieties compared with corn and to determine the effects of sorghum varieties on nursery pig growth. In exp. 1, 48 barrows (initially 18.6 kg) were housed individually in metabolism crates. Treatments were arranged in a 2 × 4 factorial evaluating two levels of microbial phytase (0 or 500 units/kg) and four grain sources (corn, high-lysine, red, or white sorghum). Added phytase improved (P < 0.05) STTD of P in all ingredients, but was not different among the grains. In exp. 2, the DE and ME in the three sorghum varieties were not different from corn. In exp. 3, 10 growing barrows (initially 25.9 kg) with a T-cannula in the terminal ileum were used. Standardized ileal digestible Lys, Met, Thr, and Val were greater (P < 0.05) in corn than in the sorghum-based diets with no differences among the sorghum varieties. In exp. 4, 160 pigs (initially 6.3 kg) were randomly allotted to one of four dietary treatments with five pigs per pen and eight replicate pens per treatment in a 20-d experiment. Dietary treatments included corn or the three sorghum varieties, where the varieties of sorghum replaced corn on an SID Lys basis. No differences among treatments were observed in any growth performance parameters. In exp. 5, treatments consisted of a corn-based diet, a diet based on conventional sorghum (a mixture of red and white sorghum), and four diets with high-lysine sorghum containing increasing amounts of feed-grade AA, replacing soybean meal. Overall, pigs fed the high-lysine sorghum diet with the greatest amount of added feed-grade AA had the poorest gain:feed ratio (G:F; P < 0.05) compared with pigs fed all the other experimental diets. Within those fed the high-lysine sorghum and feed-grade AA, average daily gain, final body weight (linear, P < 0.10), and G:F (linear, P < 0.01) decreased as feed-grade AA increased. In summary, no differences in STTD of P or in DE and ME were observed among the grain sources. The SID AA values for the three sorghum varieties were not different; however, they were all lower than for corn. These results indicate that these varieties of sorghum can successfully replace corn in nursery pig diets if diets are formulated to account for differences in AA digestibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberskaa120
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 25 2020


  • corn
  • feed-grade amino acids
  • high-lysine sorghum
  • nursery pigs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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