Interactive Effects of Betaine, Crude Protein, and Net Energy in Finishing Pigs

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Two experiments were conducted to determine the effect of betaine on growth and carcass characteristics of finishing pigs. In Exp. 1, 32 gilts were fed one of two diets: 1) a corn-soybean meal basal (B) diet or 2) B + .125% betaine diet. In Exp. 2, 122 gilts were allotted to one of eight dietary treatments in a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial arrangement with two levels of betaine (0 or .125%), crude protein (adequate [ACP] or inadequate [ICP]), and net energy (NE; 0 or 6% added fat). In Exp. 1, betaine did not affect (P > .10) growth performance or carcass traits other than an increased (P < .05) dressing percentage. In Exp. 2, betaine tended to decrease ADFI during the overall experimental period (P = .11). In the late finishing period (LF), betaine increased ADG in inadequate CP low-NE diets and adequate CP high- NE diets, but decreased ADG in inadequate CP high-NE and adequate CP low-NE diets (betaine x CP x NE, P < .04). Betaine increased (P < .04) carcass length and decreased (P < .01) color score for pork quality. Other carcass measurements were unaffected (P > .10) by betaine. Betaine decreased (P < .02) serum urea N (SUN) in fed pigs during the LF period. Betaine decreased fasting SUN and albumin in pigs fed the ACP diets, but it increased fasting SUN and albumin in pigs fed the ICP diets during the LF period (betaine x CP, P = .10). Betaine increased serum total protein in the low-NE diets, but not in the high-NE diets (betaine x NE, P < .08). The serum metabolite data suggest that betaine may affect protein status of pigs, and these effects may depend on the crude protein and energy content of the diet.

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Journal of Animal Science

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