A study was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary protease supplementation on growth performance and carcass characteristics of growing-finishing pigs that started with a lower bodyweight than pigs in the control group. A total of 96 growing pigs (initial bodyweight (BW) 31.6 ± 2.97 kg) were allotted to two dietary treatments (48 pigs/treatment, 8 pigs/pen) with different initial BW (34.37 vs. 28.78 kg). The dietary treatments were a control diet (CON), based on maize and soybean meal (grower diets) and wheat (finisher diets), and a protease diet (PRO), which was the CON diet to which 0.02% protease was added. Pigs were fed these dietary treatments (high BW-CON, low BW-PRO) for 12 weeks, comprising six weeks growing and six weeks finishing. In the growing period, PRO had higher average daily gain (ADG) and gain to feed (G:F) ratio than CON. The significant difference in bodyweight that was observed at the beginning of the experiment between the treatment groups was still observed at the end of the growing period. In the finishing period, PRO had reduced feed intake, average daily feed intake (ADFI), and increased G:F ratio compared with CON. At the end of the experiment, there was no significant difference in BW between the treatment groups as a result of lower feed intake and ADFI and higher ADG and G:F ratio. In addition, there were no differences in carcass characteristics between the groups. Therefore, standalone protease supplementation may positively affect the growth performance of growing-finishing pigs through improved feed efficiency without negative effects on carcass characteristics.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher