Are we ignoring dietary calcium? Interview with Hans Stein & Ravi Ravindran

Published Monday, 20th March 2017

In an exclusive interview with AB Vista, Hans Stein and Ravi Ravindran discuss projected changes in future feed formulation, with a focus on digestible calcium and digestible phosphorus.

Unlike for phosphorus, there is currently no system to allow pig nutritionists to accurately formulate for digestible or available Ca. Being presently limited to just total Ca values tends to result in oversupply to avoid deficiency, a situation compounded by the relatively low cost of Ca and the often unaccounted for use of limestone as a flow agent in soya bean meal.

Analysed total Ca is frequently up to 25% higher than formulated, with some recent data showing that approximately 0.24% Ca in the diet is not included in the feed formulation. With excess Ca negatively affecting the digestibility of more expensive nutrients such as P and amino acids, the development of an accurate digestible Ca system could substantially improve both feed efficiency and animal performance.

Ongoing research 

AB Vista is collaborating with Hans Stein and the University of Illinois to develop the foundation of a working digestible Ca system for use in commercial pig diet formulations. 

This research is likely to bring benefits across the industry. By measuring standard total tract digestibility (STTD) for Ca in pigs, it has been possible to develop a better understanding for the Ca requirements, as well as values for Ca availability, content and variation in common feed ingredients.

These are the early stages of a continuing research effort designed to lead to the development of a working digestible Ca system for pig diet formulation. 

Ultimately, it will enable more precise nutrient supply, resulting in improved P, amino acid and Ca digestibility, and subsequently have a major positive influence on growth performance, skeletal integrity and feed efficiency.

Hans Stein recently presented this research at the third International Phytate Summit in Miami, Florida, November 2016. The summit brought together experts in animal nutrition to further our knowledge and understanding of phytate and identify advances in diet formulation.  

Laptop mock abv calculator

Online Feed Fibre Calculator

Calculate the percentage of dietary fibre in your feed

Our calculator is designed for nutritionists and uses averages of global raw materials to calculate the dietary fibre content (plus other more in-depth fibre parameters) of finished animal feed. These parameters are available within AB Vista’s Dietary Fibre analysis service (part of our NIR service).

Click here to access

Sign up for AB Vista news

A regular summary of our key stories sent straight to your inbox.


© AB Vista. All rights reserved 2023

Website T&Cs     Privacy & Cookie Policy     Terms & Conditions of Sale     IDC Policy