How Can We Improve Efficiency With Wet/Dry Feeding?


The feeder you choose for your farm will determine your production’s efficiency.

At weaning, we are faced with the presence of digestive problems, diarrhea, and lack of appetite. To counteract these challenges, we must increase piglets’ voluntary consumption of feed and water; we must be proactive. An excellent way to achieve this is by using wet/dry feeders on your farm.

In general, little relevance is attributed to the structures and equipment that make up the production setting in terms of their actual influence on outcomes. According to several studies, feeder type is indeed a relevant factor for the genetic expression and profitability of pigs.

All feeders from Crystal Spring have management guides designed to help clients achieve better performance when using the feeders.

We know that by improving water supply (Barber, et al., 1989) and feed supply (Han, et al., 2006), we increase both feed intake and growth, helping the piglets’ gut health as they transition from the sow’s milk to dry feed. Feeder design has a major impact on this transition- one of the many reasons we have developed our wet/dry feeders. With any formulation or type of feed, pigs can mix water and feed themselves, creating their own mash. By using a Crystal Spring feeder, your piglets will make a much better transition than with a traditional dry feeder, which will be seen when assessing the sustainability of production indexes in growing and finishing.

Field research shows significant increases in sow health, which translates into higher productivity in the nursery and finishing phases, with improved weight gain and feed conversion.

In 28 field experiments and in 15 university studies, the wean-to-finish phase compared pigs fed in dry feeders with pigs fed in wet/dry Crystal Spring feeders, and found:

  • 5.4% greater average daily gain
  • 1.5% greater feed intake
  • 2.3% less feed intake per kg weight gain
  • 35% less water use

In experiments with feeders for breeding sows, Crystal Spring’s wet/dry feeder saw the following performance:

  • 6-15% average daily feed intake
  • 14% greater litter gain
  • 8% more pigs weaned
  • 9% better pre-weaning survival
  • 9% less days to estrus

Since we first began to produce wet/dry feeders over 35 years ago, our mission has been to bring innovative technologies to the global market to help pig producers achieve profitability in their operations.

A very important point to achieve good levels of feed efficiency is to avoid feed waste in distribution systems, silos and feeders, which can vary from 2% to 12%. Reducing waste and regulating feeders well is the easiest way to improve feed conversion. The cost of feed waste can reach unacceptable levels for the farm.

With wet/dry feeders, one pig per linear inch of trough length can be fed in the nursery and fattening stages, once the pigs are fed 20% faster with the wet feed. In this way, voluntary consumption increases by 1.5% in the nursery phase, decreasing the amount of feed needed to gain one kilogram during this phase by 5%, translating into an even greater gain in the finishing phase, decreasing the days to slaughter for each batch.

For more information, contact our team at