General information

InraPorc integrates current knowledge of nutrition of growing pigs and sows in a model and software tool, making it available to professionals in the animal nutrition sector. The objective of the model is to evaluate different nutritional scenarios. InraPorc is also one of the few decision support tools developed for the nutrition of reproducing sows. InraPorc is an INRAE product and based on research carried out the Joint Research Unit INRAE / Institut Agro Rennes-Angers "Physiology, Environment and Genetics for the animal and Livestock Systems (UMR PEGASE)". The project has been supported by Ajinomoto Eurolysine S.A.S.


Understanding the dynamics aspects of nutrition

Nutritional systems, such as the net energy system or the ideal amino acid profile, are widely used in animal nutrition. These systems rely on the concept that a nutritional value can be attributed to a feed, which can be then compared to the nutritional requirement of the pig. Although these systems are simple to use, they cannot deal easily with interactions (e.g., between the diet and the animal) or the change in requirements during the productive life of the pig. For example, the lysine requirement (expressed as a percentage in the diet) of a pig depends on the growth potential and the feed intake capacity of the pig. As both the growth potential and feed intake capacity change dynamically during growth, so will the lysine requirement. Mathematical models are ideally suited to account for nutritional interactions such as the one described above. The goal of the InraPorc project was to develop a model (the mathematical equations) for the nutrition of growing pigs and sows and to develop a software tool to use the model.


Description of InraPorc

The nutritional concepts used in InraPorc are based on experiments carried out at the UMR PEGASE, located in Saint-Gilles at the INRA research center of Rennes. During the last 30 years, numerous experiments have been carried out to quantify the response of pigs to a changing nutrient supply. These results, combined with data from the literature, allowed the construction of the InraPorc model. The concepts behind the model have been presented in 2005 at the Journées de la Recherche Porcine (for growing pigs and sows) and in a special issue of Animal Feed Science and Technology in 2007 (pre-prints for growing pigs and sows).

The InraPorc software consists of three modules: a Feed module, a Sow module, and a Growing Pig module. The Feed module allows characterising the feed that is going to be used. In this module, the feed database of INRA-AFZ is used to help the user to characterise the feeds. The sow and growing pig modules are both very similar in design and allow the user to characterise the pig in its environment. By performing a simulation, the user can get a detailed overview of how nutrients are used by the animal for different functions. InraPorc also offers the possibility to compare different nutritional strategies in terms of performance and nutrient balance. The software is available in French, English, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Polish versions.


A tool for nutritionists and for teaching nutritional principles

InraPorc is intended to be used by animal nutritionists or can be used to train nutritionists. For nutritionists, InraPorc can be a helpful tool to evaluate the current feeding strategy used by farmers and to propose other strategies that may be less costly or more environmentally friendly. Because of the user-friendly interface and the numerous ways in which simulation results can be displayed, InraPorc can be useful tool in teaching nutritional principles (e.g., the difference between digestible, metabolisable and net energy can be easily demonstrated).


A research/industry partnership

Ajinomoto Eurolysine S.A.S. has been a research partner of UMR PEGASE for a long time and the joint decision to develop InraPorc was made more then 8 years ago. Although the development and distribution of InraPorc has been supported by Ajinomoto Eurolysine S.A.S., InraPorc is fully owned by INRAE. Through its international network of distributors, Ajinomoto Eurolysine S.A.S. is helping INRAE to promote the software. Training sessions in France and abroad as well as the development of foreign language modules have been supported by Ajinomoto Eurolysine S.A.S.


A training program for users

In cooperation with "Institut de la Filière Porcine" (IFIP) and Institut Agro Rennes-Angers, training sessions are provided on a regular basis. Other full-day training sessions can be organized by INRAE depending on users requests and needs. Feel free to contact us by choosing Formation in the drop-down menu.


The future development of InraPorc

Through InraPorc, INRAE wants to maintain and strengthen the ties with actors in the swine production chain. The tool will evolve and INRAE invites the users to discuss the future development of the tool. Predicting product quality or environmental impact are aspects that may be further developed in future versions of the model. It is also possible that the industry wants to expand on certain aspects of the model (e.g., economic analysis) using the InraPorc model as an engine.


Obtaining InraPorc

The complete version of InraPorc can be purchased from INRAE Transfert, an INRAE subsidiary. Purchase orders can be placed on the InraPorc website and cost 500 € per license (+VAT). For educational purposes, universities can obtain a slightly limited version of InraPorc free of charge. A free evaluation version of the software can be downloaded from the website.