Crickets to replace fishmeal and SBM in piglets


Matthew Wedzerai, Pig Progress

June 15, 2022


The partial replacement of either fishmeal or soybean meal with full-fat field cricket meal promotes growth performance and gut health in weaning piglets, as shown by a new study.


Future livestock production focuses on effective approaches to sustainability in potential feedstuffs which are readily available and reasonably priced but that provide nutrients comparable to conventional feed ingredients. Fish meal (FM) and soybean meal (SBM) are common conventional protein ingredients in pig diets owing to their balance of amino acids and other nutrients. However, they are relatively expensive. FM could contain pathogens and biogenic amines, while the anti-nutritional factors of SBM can impair animal performance. Crickets are a promising, widely available protein source for pigs; however, their practical utilisation requires detailed analysis of their effects in comparison with current conventional protein sources. The field cricket (Gryllus bimaculatus) could be used as an alternative protein source as studies have shown that field cricket powder contains high levels of crude protein, ranging from 55% to 73%, as well as sufficient essential amino acids.


The cricket study


In the study published in the Journal of Animal Science (2022), the effects of full-fat field cricket as a sustainable substitute for either FM or SBM on growth performance, nutrient utilisation, intestinal morphology, immunity, redox status and microbial counts were evaluated in weaning piglets. In this study 100 piglets weaned at 28 ± 2 days of age were assigned to five dietary treatments.


The diets were as follows:


·         Positive control (PC): Corn-SBM based diet with 5% fish meal


·         Negative control (NC): Corn-SBM based diet without animal protein


·         FCP-1: Field cricket powder replacing fishmeal on a total lysine basis


·         FCP-2: Field cricket powder replacing fishmeal on a kg/kg basis


·         FCP-3: Field cricket powder replacing fishmeal and soybean meal


Growth performance and diarrhoea incidence ...


Intestinal morphology ...


Antioxidant activity and microbial modulation ...


Immunity ...


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