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Ciência e Agrotecnologia

Print version ISSN 1413-7054On-line version ISSN 1981-1829

Ciênc. agrotec. vol.29 no.1 Lavras Jan./Feb. 2005 



Evaluation of sunflower meal on growth and carcass traits of finishing pigs1


Avaliação de farelo de girassol no desempenho e características de carcaca de suínos em terminação



Douglas de Carvalho CarellosI; José Augusto de Freitas LimaII; Elias Tadeu FialhoII; Rilke Tadeu Fonseca de FreitasII;  Hunaldo Oliveira SilvaIII; Patrícia Azevedo Castelo BrancoIV; Zuleide Alves de SouzaV; José Vieira NetoVI

IDepartment of  Animal Science – Escola Agrotécnica Federal de São João Evangelista, MG – Brazil –
IIDepartment of  Animal Science/UFLA – Lavras, MG – Brazil
IIIDepartment of  Animal Science – Escola Agrotécnica Federal de São Cristóvão, SE –
IVDepartment of  Animal Science – EPAMIG – Brazil –
VDepartment of  Animal Science – EPAMIG – Brazil –
VIDepartment of  Animal Science – UFLA – Brazil –




With the objective  to  evaluate the influence of increasing levels of inclusion of sunflower meal (SFM) solvent extraction (DM: 92.71%, CP: 27.50%, NDF: 43.57%, ADF: 32.96%, CF: 25.91%, EE: 3,08% and GE: 4390 kcal) on the performance and carcass characteristics of finishing swine, a performance trial was conducted in the Department of Animal Science of the Federal University of Lavras – MG. A total of 80 crossbred pigs (LD x LW) with initial weight of 62.20 ± 4.21 kg were utilized, one barrow and one gilt per experimental unit, allocated in a  randomized block design. The treatments were represented by five diets with increasing levels of inclusion (0, 4, 8, 12 and 16%) of SFM. At the end of the experimental period, all pigs were slaughtered (99.80 ± 6.91kg) and submitted to the carcass evaluation by the Brazilian Method of Carcass Evaluation (ABCS, 1973). The increasing levels of SFM shown a linear reduction (P<0.05) in the feed intake, therefore all other variables, shown any significant  effect. The carcass data evaluation also shown any significant effect (P>0.05) for any increasing levels of SFM in the diets, however, sex effect was found, in the barrows, which shown higher ETM, P2, AG and RCG and lower AOL in relation to the females  In conclusion Sunflower meal should be included up to 16% in pig diet (isocaloric and isolysinic, basis ) with no major effects on growth performance or carcass traits of finishing pigs.

Index terms: Swine, sunflower meal, performance, carcass.


Com o objetivo de avaliar a influência de níveis crescentes de inclusão do farelo de girassol (FG) em rações (MS: 92,71%; PB: 27,50%; FDN: 43,57%; FDA: 32,96%; FB: 25,91%) e a atuação deste no desempenho e características de carcaça para suínos em terminação, conduziu-se uma pesquisa no Departamento de Zootecnia da Universidade Federal de Lavras-MG. Foram utilizados 80 suínos mestiços (LD x LW) com peso inicial de 62,20 ± 4,21 kg, sendo 1 macho e 1 fêmea por baia, distribuídos em um delineamento em blocos ao acaso. As rações apresentaram níveis crescentes de inclusão (0, 4, 8, 12 e 16%) de FG. Ao final do ensaio de desempenho os 80 suínos foram abatidos (99,80 ± 6,91kg) e submetidos à avaliação de carcaça (ABCS, 1973). Os níveis crescentes de FG proporcionaram redução linear (P< 0,05) no CRMD; para as demais variáveis não se observou efeito significativo. Na avaliação de carcaça, os níveis crescentes de inclusão de FG não proporcionaram efeito significativo (P>0,05) para as variáveis avaliadas, sendo, entretanto, constatado efeito de sexo, pois os machos apresentaram maiores valores de ETM, P2, AG e RCG e as fêmeas melhor AOL e RPER. Conclui-se que é viável tecnicamente a inclusão de até 16% de farelo de girassol em rações para suínos na fase de terminação.

Termos para indexação: Suínos, farelo de girassol, desempenho, carcaça.




Pig raising has been increasing and adapting to meet the  market demand and consumer requirements by offering  high quality meat at accessible prices. The energetic and protein feedstuffs, represented mainly by corn and soybean , are used both in human and animal nutrition, but most have been  destined  to animal feed industry.  Nutrition is about 70% of the final cost of pigs.  There  is also frequent instab ility in the market regarding offer, nutritional composition and cost of the feedstuffs used in pig diets.  This has led producers and researchers to search for alternative feeds that can be utilized in pig diets, reducing costs without damaging animal performance.

Oil consumption is increasing, especially of those oils that present better nutritional characteristics, of which sunflower is outstanding. To  meet this demand, sunflower grain production and importation has been increased that has contributed to a greater offer of by-products, mainly sunflower meal that is rich in proteins and fiber, making it a potential alternative ingredient for partial substitution of soybean meal in pig diets.

However, sunflower meal, although its protein is relatively rich in sulfur AA , therefore the lysine is deficient and requires supplementation of this amino acid to meet the nutritional requirements of the animals.  Sunflower meal is the main by-product of oil extraction and presents protein quality similar to that of soybean meal, except for the lysine level which is about three times less than in sunflower meal (Lima et al., 1990). Sunflower meal can be used in diets in complement with other lysine-rich feed sources (SILVA, 1990) but the high level of fiber in sunflower meal contributes to a reduction in the concentdiet of digestible energy in the diets.  Sunflower  meal  in  substitution  of  soybean meal requires the addition of vegetable oil and lysine in the diet composition for pigs (CORTAMIRA et al., 2000).  This fact implies that the use of sunflower meal should be limited under the risk of reducing the final energy in a diet, requiring more oil for energy supplementation, that could raise the final costs.  The nutritional quality of sunflower meal (metabolizable energy, fiber content and protein quality) is  affected  by  the  specific  processing  opediets (MANDARINO, 1997).

Sunflower grain production in Brazil in 2003 was 66 thousand tons (FAGUNDES and SUGFGEFIP, 2002) that represents 23.1 thousand tons of sunflower meal. The increase in production of this oleaginous, allied to the variability in its nutritional composition and the scarcity of data on sunflower meal use in pig nutrition, has triggered interest in researchers about this feedstuff.

The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the effect of sunflower meal inclusion in pigs diets on  performance and carcass traits in finishing pigs.



Eighty crossbred (Landrace x Large White) pigs ( 40 barrows and 40 gilts) with a 62.2±3.20 kg of initial average weight from University Federal of Lavras- UFLA swine farm were allotted to five treatments with eight replications of two pigs ( one barrow and one gilt) per replicate on the basis of weight in a randomized complete block design. Ancestry was equalized across treatments. The five  treatments  were  based  on  five  inclusion levels of sunflower meal  0, 4, 8, 12 e 16 % in the finishing pig diets. The diets were formulated on the base of corn, soybean meal, sunflower meal, soybean oil and synthetic Lysine (Table 1) to meet the nutritional needs of the animals,  according  to  NRC (1998).  Composition of the experimental diets are given in Table 2. the diet was formulated  to be isoproteic, isocaloric and isolysinic, varying only regarding the inclusion or not of  sunflower meal. The treatment diets and water were provided for ad libitum intake  throughout  the  experiment. The experiment lasted 35d.





The final average weight of the 80 pigs was 99.80 ± 6.91kg and the  animal  was  considered  as   experimental unit. On the day after the growth trial ended, after 24 hours without diet all pigs were slaughtered by exsanguination and conventional slaughter procedures were followed.  Following a  24-h  chill,  carcass  measurements were taken and recorded.   The carcass was divided in two halves by a longitudinal cut along the spine. Classification was made according to the Brazilian Method of Carcass Classification (MBCC) described by ABCS (1973). Carcass measurements collected in  the  cooler included: dressing percent , average backfat thickness  (first rib, last rib, and last lumbar vertebra) depths, and at a point 6.5 cm from the midline at the last rib (P2) , carcass length. the longissimus loin eye area  was measured at a point 3/4 the length of the muscle from the medial side at the 10 th rib ,  lean:fat  ratio  (obtained by dividing the fat area by the lean area), ham yield in relation to pork/leg.

Data from growth performance and carcass traits were analyzed by  analysis  of  variance  procedures  appropriate for a randomized complete block design using GLM procedures of SAS INSTITUTE (2000). The regression analysis were used  to  determine  the  effect of inclusion of sunflower in the diet. The statistical model included treatment and replication. Final BW and hot carcass weight data were included as covariates in the analysis for all carcass measures.



The mean values and respective coefficients of variation (CV) for average daily weight gain (ADW), average daily feed intake (ADFI) and feed conversion (FC) of the pigs at the finishing phase in function of the different inclusion levels of sunflower meal in the pig diets are shown Table 3.



Sunflower meal inclusion in the diet shown no  effect on ADW or feed conversion of the finishing pigs (P<0.05) but the ADFI of the pigs was affected linearly (P<0.05) by the inclusion of sunflower meal in the diet  and a reduction of 14.6 grams in ADFI was estimated for each percentage unit of sunflower meal included to the diet ( y = 3.6902 - 0.0146x , R2= 0.9713).  It seems that the nutritional demands of the pigs were met even with the reduction in  feed  intake. For the pigs to express all their potential for weight gain, intake must meet their nutritional requirements (Whittemore, 1993). One of the possible causes of the reduction in DFI may have been the higher fiber content that gave a lower density to the diets, with this the intake may have been limited by the distension capacity of the alimentary canal.  The presence of high fiber contents in the diets also can reduce intake by excessive  volume or by reduced palatability (Braude, 1967, cited by NRC, 1998). Lower feed intake also can occur because of the inclusion of fibrous  ingredients with greater water  retaining capacity (Kyriazakis and Emmans, 1995). Voluntary intake  by pigs fed freely can be affected by the diet energy (Lewis, 1991, quoted by Penz JÚNIOR and Viola, 1998). Reduction in feed intake was also observed by Seerley et al. (1974) in growing pigs when they replaced soybean protein with sunflower meal (50 and 10% ).  Also Silva et al. (2002a) found no difference in finishing pig performance with the inclusion of sunflower meal up to the level of 21% in the diets.  Similarly, Wetscherek et al. (1993) reported any difference among treatments when they replaced soybean meal with sunflower meal up to 27% of  the  diets.  Szabó et al. (2001) also reported no difference in finishing pig performance, when feeding diets based on corn-soybean meal or corn-sunflower meal. Silva et al. (2002b) also observed a quadratic effect for feed intake and weight gain with inclusion of sunflower meal in the diets for finishing pigs. In relation to carcass data (Table 4 ) it was observed no significant effect (P<0.05)  in the carcass dressing percent, carcass length , ham yield  in relation pork/leg and average backfat thickness with the inclusion of sunflower meal in the diet for finishing pigs.  However, a difference (P<0.01) was observed  between the sexes, and the gilts shown better carcass traits when compared with the barrows carcass.



No significant effect was observed (P<0.05) for average backfat thickness , longissimus eye loin area, lean:fat ratio with the inclusion of sunflower meal in the diets ( Table 5 ) .  However, there was  a  significant  difference between the sexes, and the gilts shown better  (P<0.05) longissimus loin eye area and less average backfat thickness and carcass  fat  as  well  as  lower  lean:fat ratio (P<0.05) than barrows.



The  reduction  in  energy  intake  by  feeding  restriction or by dilution of the energetic contents  in  diets with sunflower meal increasing the supply of fiber content, reduces fat deposition  and  increases  lean  production accord to Tribble (1991). Also Dierick et al. (1989) have been reported the reduction in 10th backfat thickness and body fat and the increase in muscle mass production result in improved carcass quality, although they are associated with less body weight gain in pigs fed on fibrous diets.   



These data also do not agree with data obtained in our experiment, where the inclusion of sunflower meal did not affect any carcass traits analyzed. There was no reduction in the energetic values of the diets or of fat thickness in the carcasses with sunflower meal  inclusion, even though there was reduced feed intake. The results obtained in the present experiment  were  similar to those obtained by Seerley et al. (1974) who reported no effects in the carcass characteristics when finishing pigs were fed diets with soybean meal  replaced with sunflower meal.  Shelton et al. (2001) also reported no differences for carcass traits when they compared corn-soybean diets with corn-sunflower meal  diets.   Similarly, Silva et al. (2002a) also reported no differences in the carcass traits with inclusion of sunflower meal for finishing  pigs.   The  highest  values  observed in  longissimus loin eye area and higher 10th backfat  thickness and lower lean:fat ratio (P<0.05) presented in the barrows may be related to the physiology and higher feed intake compared to the gilts, thus increasing fat deposition.  Fat deposition in  the  carcass  is  mainly  influenced by the energetic intake.  Energy that is ingested beyond that necessary for maintenance  and  protein  deposition is used to synthesize fat (Whittemore, 1993) although muscular growth is always accompanied by a minimum of fat.  The potential for muscle growth can vary with the sex and genotype of the animal (Bikker and Bosch, 1996).  In a similar study Silva et al. (2002a) also observed greater fat deposition in the barrows.  Also, Silva et al. (2002c) observed greater percentage of lean meat for barrows when sunflower meal was included in the pig diets.

Accord to the results in this experiment, research is needed to provide a better understanding  of  the  physiological mechanisms of muscle growth and to explain some conflicting results in studies that have been reported thus far.



Sunflower meal should be included up to 16% in pig diet (isocaloric and isolysinic, basis ) with no major effects on growth performance  or  carcass traits of finishing pigs.



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(Recebido para publicação em 24 de abril de 2003 e aprovado em 24 de novembro de 2004)



1. It is part of  Dissertation  presented by the first author to the University Federal of Lavras (UFLA) – Brazil.

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