Amino acid requirements for pig diets

These amino acids need to be added to feed, as pigs cannot synthesise them:

  • lysine
  • methionine
  • tryptophan
  • isoleucine
  • histidine
  • phenyalanine
  • threonine
  • leucine
  • valine.

Grain-based diets usually do not have enough lysine, threonine, methionine, tryptophan and isoleucine. All 9 amino acids must be balanced for protein synthesis to occur.

The lowest level amino acid in pig feed compared to how much a pig needs is called the 'first-limiting' amino acid. Make sure you have enough of the limiting amino acid to get good pig growth.

In most Australian cereal-based diets, lysine is first-limiting.

Recommended lysine values

Items marked with an * are based on reactive lysine as an indicator of availability.

Common protein concentrates

Protein concentrate Recommended lysine value
Blood meal (ring-dried) 95%
Cottonseed meal 40%
Field pea meal (Pisum sativum) 92%
Fish meal 89%
Lupin seed meal (L. albus) 50%
Meat meal and meat-and-bone meal 70%
Peanut meal 60%
Skim milk powder 84%
Soybean meal 88%
Sunflower meal 60%
Canola* - cold press 74%
Canola* - solvent extr. 61%
Canola* - expeller 63%


Cereal Recommended lysine value
Barley 78%
Maize 85%
Rye 71%
Sorghum 88%
Triticale 85%
Wheat - sound 85%
Wheat - weather-damage 71%