At the recent Alltech symposium in Lexington, Kentucky, Terry Coffey from Murphy Brown addressed the issue of the use of antibiotics in the pig industry and will the industry be antibiotic-free by 2020.
“We first must understand science and then balance that with consumer demand,” Coffey said.
According to Coffey 98% of the time antibiotic growth promotants are used, it is to combat PRRS and the swine influenza virus. AGPs are only used about 2% of the time for improved weight gain and feed efficiencies.
“If we go antibiotic free, we are still faced with these diseases,” Coffey said. “We need to find technological advances to minimize gut challenges and these key drivers to using antibiotics.”
Other session speakers addressed alternatives such as breeding pigs for disease resistance, eliminating mycotoxins to enhance feed efficiency, updating biosecurity measures and housing management, practicing good stockmanship and coordinating the timing of vaccinations to improve immune response and not rely entirely on antibiotic growth promotants.
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