Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Noble, Dr. Ralph

Abstract

Six gestating Yorkshire sows were evaluated in a pasture grazing system for a spring, summer to fall, and winter trial. The pasture was divided into four different grass sections containing; 1) endophyte- infected Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue, 2) non-toxic endophyte infected Max Q Fescue, 3) multispecies grass including Redtop, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Kentucky 31 Fescue, and 4) common Bermudagrass. Each sow was assigned a global positioning system (GPS) unit by Telespial Systems, which notifies researchers of animal position at all times. The attained data was then used to determine how often different areas of the pasture were frequented. Grass score assessment was conducted after the sows were removed from pasture to determine associations between the percentages of time spent in the grass section and grass integrity. Growth performance was evaluated from offspring selected from the six Yorkshire sows in the winter trial. They consisted of 40 Yorkshire crosses; Yorkshire x Yorkshire, Large Black x Yorkshire, and Berkshire x Yorkshire that were finished in a hoop structure. An automated Feed Intake and Recording Equipment (FIRE) were used to supply feed, weigh each pig, and measure feed intake. Growth performance was evaluated by measuring average daily gain (ADG) and feed intake (FI). Feed efficiency (FE) was calculated based on feed intake and average daily gain. Grass type did not influence frequency of grass section use by sow. Based on collected data, time spent in the individual grass sections was Bermuda grass =13.95%, Multispecies = 13.87%, Max Q =18.94%, and Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue = 15.76%. Grass integrity data showed a higher frequency of grass score values of two (37.92%) and three (38.57%). Overall the sows spent the greatest percentage of time in the grass areas (62.52%) compared to the platform (37.46%). Growth performance of sows‟ offspring was not impacted by breed of sire; 1) Yorkshire cross, FI = 1.5 kg, ADG = 1.5 kg, FE = 1.0, 2) Berkshire cross, FI =1.4 kg, ADG = 1.5 kg, FE = 0.97, 3) Tamworth cross, FI = 1.5 kg, ADG = 1.5 kg, FE = 1.0. Gender did influence feed efficiency, with gilts having better FE to attain similar ADG values as males; 1) Male, FI =1.6 kg, ADG =1.5 kg, FE = 1.03, 2) Female, FI =1.4 kg, ADG =1.4 kg, FE =0.9.

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