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Zinc oxide alternatives: We are getting there

High-level use of zinc oxide will be banned by the summer of 2022 at the latest in the European Union. What are the alternatives?

Pig Progress reports that Seges Danish Pig Research Centre has tested 4 feeding concepts as possible alternatives to zinc oxide for weaned pigs. 2 of the concepts showed optimistic results, but added about DKK 7 (€ 0.94) per pig to the total cost of production.

Lisbeth Shooter, specialised senior manager, pigs at Seges’ research centre, said: “We are not expecting to discover some magic dust that can replace zinc overnight. The key is a smooth transition at weaning and implementation of new and effective routines within management, biosecurity, nutrition, etc.”

Seges Danish Pig Research Centre has tested 4 feeding concepts as possible alternatives to zinc oxide for weaned pigs. 2 of the concepts showed optimistic results, but added about DKK 7 (€ 0.94) per pig to the total cost of production. Photo: Koos Groenewold
Seges Danish Pig Research Centre has tested 4 feeding concepts as possible alternatives to zinc oxide for weaned pigs. 2 of the concepts showed optimistic results, but added about DKK 7 (€ 0.94) per pig to the total cost of production. Photo: Koos Groenewold

Alternatives are expensive

Recently, the research centre completed a test of 4 alternative feeding concepts, of which the concepts provided by Trouw Nutrition and Vitfoss performed really well, according to Ms Shooter. She said, “The pigs fed the concept from Trouw Nutrition had fewer outbreaks of diarrhoea and a better productivity, and the pigs fed the concept from Vitfoss performed as well as the pigs given zinc oxide.” Unfortunately, the 2 effective concepts are expensive: they come with an additional cost of about DKK 7 per pig compared to using zinc oxide. With an annual production of about 32 million weaned pigs, this amounts to an additional cost of DKK 225 million (€ 30.2 million) a year.

A large step in the right direction

Ms Shooter concluded, “This confirms that a competitive solution has yet to be found, but we have taken a large step in the right direction, and we will get there, but it takes hard work and dedication”

Source: Pig Progress

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