Madrid & Hontalbilla – Spain



Sustainability of pig production on Legumes and Acorns

Sustainable pig production is characterized by economic profitability through improvement of productive output, while maintaining animal health and welfare, and without compromising environmental resources. Improved feed efficiency may result in a mismatch between energy input from feed, and energy output to production and vital metabolic functions. This may in particular affect sustainability of pig production and farm profitability on low quality feeds. At INIA we investigate feed efficiency in Spanish purebred Iberian, and crossbred  Iberian x Duroc pig lines. Purebred Iberian pigs are native to the Iberian peninsula, are slow growing, exhibit good appetite, have a propensity to obesity and high intramuscular fatness, and they provide pig products of superior quality. They are reared on pasture in a semi-extensive production system called Montanera, where they consume acorns, grass, small roots, and bulbs from November to February in the Dehesa. We investigate feed efficiency in cooperation with one of the largest Iberian pig producers in Spain. Crossbred Iberian x Duroc pigs grow faster and are leaner than purebred Iberian pigs. Crossbreds are managed under regular intensive conditions. We investigate feed efficiency in Iberian x Duroc pigs in cooperation with ITACYL.





Iberian x Duroc pigs fed conventional diets

Together with ITACYL, in a first series of experiments, which is partly funded by our Spanish National IBERFIRE project, we investigate feed efficiency in Iberian x Duroc pigs fed a regular commercial diet. The relationship between growth parameters, feed efficiency, and stress parameters in blood is investigated.


Iberian x Duroc pigs fed local legumes

In a second series of experiments, we investigate feed efficiency in Iberian x Duroc pigs fed a diet including an incremental amount of local legumes. Measurements are related to blood biomarkers, metagenomic variation patterns, stress parameters (including infrared thermography), and behavioral tests.


Iberian pigs fed acorns

In a third series of experiments, we investigate feed efficiency in purebred Iberian pigs fed acorns, both intensively and in the  in the Dehesa. Measurements are related to stress parameters (including infrared thermography).                                                                   


– Wendy Mercedes Rauw


– Luis Alberto García-Cortés


– Luis Gomez-Raya


– Emilio Gómez Izquirdo


– Eduardo de Mercado de la Peña


– Luis Silió


– Carmen Rodríguez


– Rita Benítez


– Yolanda Nuñez


– Fabian García

Further Reading

Feed efficiency and animal robustness – Link

Resource allocation theory applied to farm animal production – link

Selection for high production in pigs – Link

Las Leguminosas en la alimentación de ganado porcino – Link

Efecto sobre el rendimiento productivo y calidad de la canal de la inclusión de guisantes (Pisum savitum) y alberjón (vicia narbonensis) en el pienso de lechones y cerdos de cebo – Link

Related projects

caracterización molecular de la eficiencia alimentaria y de los caracteres reproductivos en cerdo ibérico – AGL2016-75942-R