Chromium and energy restriction as substitutes for ractopamine in finishing gilts diet
ABSTRACT: This study evaluated chromium supplements and energy restriction as substitutes for ractopamine in the diets of late finishing gilts. Sixty gilts were used, with initial weights of 98.87 ± 0.25 kg and final weights of 122.69 ± 10.97 kg, distributed in a randomized block design with five diets: control; yeast chromium (0.8 ppm); chromium picolinate (0.48 ppm); ractopamine (20 ppm) and energy restriction (reduction of 150 kcal of EM kg-1 of feed), with six replicates and two animals per experimental unit. Feeding diet containing ractopamine enabled better (P<0.05) feed conversion and greater weights of the hot carcass of the gilts. The diet containing ractopamine exhibited a lower (P<0.05) cost of feed per kilogram of gain and higher economic efficiency, when compared to diets containing chromium and energy restriction; these exhibited better outcomes, compared to the control diet. Diets supplemented with chromium and ractopamine resulted in a higher (P<0.05) percentage and quantity of lean meat and a higher rate of carcass bonus, when compared to the control diet and energy restriction. The energy reduction did not harm the gilts’ responses, compared to the control diet. Ractopamine supplementation allowed for a better feed conversion, lower feed cost per kilogram of gain, and a higher economic efficiency index. Supplements of chromium and ractopamine increased the percentage and quantity of lean meat and the bonus index of the carcasses. Therefore, chromium picolinate and chromium yeast are potential substitutes for ractopamine for optimizing the gilts carcass characteristics.