Pigs can eat tomatoes without experiencing any adverse effects on maintenance, reproduction as well as production. In fact, this is a growing practise within the agricultural community. The growing usage of such unconventional feedstuffs is brought by the increase in feed demand that cannot be sustained though normal livestock diets. This is because feed is expensive, constituting about 60% to 70% of the overall cost of production. As such, it is beyond the financial capacity of most farmers, hence the use of tomatoes. Studies indicate that pigs can feed on tomatoes, provided farmers are knowledgeable on the appropriate rations and livestock nutritional needs versus the nutritional value of tomatoes.

Nutritional Value

Tomatoes are highly famed for their superior nutritional value and medicinal purposes. According to research, tomatoes are among the world’s healthiest foods. Fortunately, these health benefits are transferable to livestock through consumption. As such, pigs can feed on tomatoes to improve their overall performance. Tomatoes are a good source of nutrients and minerals needed for healthy livestock that produce higher yields thereby directly translating to productivity and profitability. They consist of vitamins, potassium as well as folate among other minerals.  Tomatoes are also a source of antioxidant agents, namely, flavonoids, phytosterols and other water soluble vitamins.  Not only do these compounds help in the physiological of livestock but also in their overall health maintenance. The lycopene, which is a red pigment found in tomatoes acts as an antioxidant thereby improving meat quality and enhancing growth of pigs. In addition, it helps to boost the immune system allowing them some form of resistance to diseases.

A common misconception is that since pigs are monogastric animals, they are able to feed on all types of food considered healthy for humans. Although this is often the case, some types of human food are not ideal for pigs. As such, pigs can eat tomatoes provided they are ripe. Green tomatoes are said to be harmful to livestock. Studies indicate that raw tomatoes contain toxins which destroy red blood cells and can cause diarrhoea as well as heart failure. Cases of severe stomach pains are usually reported when livestock are given raw tomatoes. To add on, the toxic compounds found in tomatoes are known to inhibit digestion of necessary nutrients thereby causing deprivation which eventually leads to a series of health related issues. According to various agricultural research studies, pigs can feed on tomatoes provided they are ensiled with complimentary feed. Experiments conducted revel that tomato silage is highly nutritious in comparison to the fresh vegetable and so allows for greater production.

Physical Development

Feed should meet the animal’s needs for maintenance, growth and reproduction. The upside of using pig feed is that it is affordable and nutritious, therefore sustainable in the long run. Good pig feed contains sufficient energy, protein, minerals and vitamins, hence the need for an excellent supplementary feed. Rice bran, broken rice and maize are usually used as feed supplements. That being said, pigs can eat tomatoes to improve on their physiological development. As previously stated, tomatoes are known to enhance livestock health resulting in improved productivity. To add on, they are a rich source of minerals necessary for blood synthesis, hormone structure, normal reproduction, vitamin synthesis, enzyme formation, and immune system integrity. Research reveals that pigs with dietary plans inclusive of tomato silage perform better in comparison to their counterparts. Tomatoes contain potassium which is responsible for maintaining the acid–base balance in the body, facilitating glucose and neutral amino acid uptake into cells, protein synthesis, maintaining heart and kidney muscle integrity. Also, pigs can eat tomatoes as a preventative measure against oxidative stress. The vegetable contains flavonoids and lycopene among other compounds that act as antioxidant agents.  Resultantly, the health of livestock is maintained allowing for timely and successful growth as well as development.

An important point to note is that tomato silage rations are dependent on the maturity of livestock. Although pigs can feed on tomatoes, they should not be given to young piglets. Instead, their feed should comprise of milk with high protein levels needed for growth and development. Solid feeds can gradually be introduced at the age of about 3 weeks. Growing pigs that are kept for slaughter should have an unlimited intake of feed to maximise their growing potential. Feed intake should be between 0.5 to 3kg depending on age, weight and environmental temperature. Research studies indicate that tomato by- products have high nutritional value, particularly in crude protein which is responsible for the general physiological development of livestock. Proteins comprise most of the enzymes that drive metabolism and are incorporated into the hormones that regulate body function. They are also a significant component of muscle. Deficiencies causes adverse effects on growth, maintenance, reproduction and production.

Health Maintenance

For many years, animal health was maintained through the use synthetic medicine. However, this has recently changed due to the realisation that they have a potential to cause negative effects to both human and animal health. As such, most farmers are seeking for natural means of maintaining animal health. Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins among other nutrients important for boosting the immune system thereby allowing livestock some form of resistance against diseases and infection. Lycopene found in tomatoes is also responsible for protecting animals from fatal diseases. It acts as an antioxidant which leads to the increase in white blood cells hence protecting livestock from diseases. As such, pigs can feed on tomatoes so as to keep healthy. To add on, lycopene is known for its role in controlling cholesterol levels in livestock. Resultantly, the meat produced is said to be healthier. Pigs can feed on tomatoes so as to maintain sufficient water levels needed for maintenance and production. Tomatoes consist of approximately 80 to 84% moisture content which allows for nutrient digestion, absorption, waste removal, respiration, regulating mineral balances, eyesight and for joint lubrication.

Pigs can eat tomatoes as a preventative measure against lipid oxidation. Oxidation is formally referred to as a process whereby polyunsaturated fatty acid react with reactive oxygen species leading to a series of secondary reactions which in turn lead to degradation of lipids and development of oxidative rancidity. The consequence of oxidation is poor quality produce which commands a very low market price. Tomatoes provide a natural and effective solution to this common challenge. They contain flavonoids and lycopene among other antioxidants which help to prevent the occurrence of oxidative stress. As such, animal health is enhanced leading to improved yields of superior quality.