[PhD’s Corner] Raphaël Gauthier: Nutritional requirements modelling and precision feeding of lactating sows

Raphaël Gauthier is one of the #DigitAg co-funded PhDs


Nutritional requirements modelling and precision feeding of lactating sows

  • Start Date: November 2017
  • University:  Bretagne – Loire
  • PhD School: EGAAL , Rennes
  • Field(s)Data Mining, Animal Nutrition, Modelling
  • Doctoral Thesis Advisor: : Jean-Yves Dourmad (INRA PEGASE)
  • Co-supervisors : Christine Largouët (AgroCampus Ouest, Irisa-Inria)
  • Funding: #DigitAg – INRA
  • #DigitAg: Co-funded PhD – Axis 6 – Challenge 4


Keywords: modelling, animal nutrition, lactating sows


Because of the variability in sows milk production and appetite, the nutritional requirements differ largely between farms, between animals from the same farrowing batch, between successive batches due to seasonal variations, and between successive days during lactation, whereas in practice the same diet is generally fed to all sows in a herd. The availability of new technologies for high throughput phenotyping of individual sows and of their environment offers new opportunities for a renewed practical implementation of prediction models of nutritional requirements and performance. The integration of these prediction models in decision support tools incorporated in feeding equipment is thus an important issue for pig farmers and for the companies that develop this equipment. The objective of this thesis is to produce the knowledge required for a more integrated and dynamic approach of feeding lactating sows, by considering all the information available when deciding the optimal composition and amount of feed to be fed to each sow, each day, the ration being prepared by an automatic feeder. The scientific issues consist in a change of paradigm resulting from the possible access to real-time data specific to each animal and their environment as well as to historic data relative to the animal itself (e.g., previous lactation) to similar animals from the same farm or from similar farms. The research question deals with the real-time determination of nutritional requirements of lactating sows and its implementation in practice: “How can we decide in real-time the optimal composition and amount of feed to be fed to a lactating sow using in all the available information at this time?”


Contact:  raphael.gauthier [AT] inra.fr​ – Tél : 0626960727

Networks: ResearchGateTwitter


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