Swine production is huge in North Asia, and it is fuelling an increased demand for performance minerals to deliver proven results in support of achieving greater animal wellness and performance. Dr Sou Fei Chin, vice president of sales for North Asia at Zinpro Corporation explains the company’s approach in this diverse region.
Dr Sou Fei Chin is vice president of sales for North Asia at Zinpro Corporation. His animal nutrition industry experience spans more than 20 years and includes extensive experience in the Asia region. Dr Chin earned a post-doctorate degree in animal nutrition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA) and a doctoral degree in animal nutrition and physiology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (USA).
What is the history of Zinpro Corporation in the North Asia region?
“Our North Asia division includes China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. This region represents roughly 1/3 of all global animal feed production, with approximately 260 million metric tons of feed produced annually. As you would expect, the market channels in these countries function differently, and each represents a tremendous opportunity. We have experienced significant growth throughout this region in recent years and are continuing to add sales, research, marketing and support staff to service our growing North Asia customer base. Since 1999, we have had a regional office in Japan. Today, we have 2 regional offices in Japan (in Yokohama and Fukuoka) and 1 in China. Earlier this year, we moved into a new office in Shanghai. This large, modern office space is designed similar to our company’s global headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA. In 2016, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture approved production of our Availa®Cr 1000 product, a nutritional feed ingredient that contains chromium methionine (trace minerals as essential amino acid complexes). In addition, this year marks the 20th anniversary of our Availa®Mins products in China.”
In 2016, Zinpro hosted the first International Trace Mineral Nutrition Symposium, with a focus on sustainability. What was the event about?
“The first International Trace Mineral Nutrition Symposium (ITMNS) convened in Ningbo, China, in June of 2016, attracting nearly 200 invited, top industry experts from across the globe. The theme for the symposium was Sustainable Trace Mineral Nutrition. The idea of starting the ITMNS was to develop a platform for nutritionists and technical staff to more fully understand how trace mineral nutrition impacts animal production and to raise awareness about sustainability for future animal farming. Our approach to the symposium is purely focused on the science of using trace minerals to improve animal production. We view sustainability as the optimal use of natural resources to support life. As production agriculture intensifies throughout the North Asia region, producers are challenged by several factors, including increased cost of production and disease challenges. Producers are no longer focused only on feeding for weight gain. They are also feeding for improved animal wellness and performance, which are often the results of implementing sustainable practices based on science. Topics addressed during ITMNS 2016 focused on delivering a deeper level of understanding about trace mineral nutrition in animal production. Looking ahead, the 2017 event will focus on inflammation, immunology and trace mineral nutrition. This broader coverage of topics is designed to help address the needs of a wider audience. The ITMNS event also fits with the environmental, technical, economic and social focus areas we believe are key to efficient natural-resource stewardship. Of course, sustainability has always been a part of Zinpro’s focus.”
Research shows feeding essential amino acid complexes from Zinpro to sows results in more piglets born alive, increased weaning weights and more productive pigs in grow/finish. Photo: Van Assendelft
The North Asia region accounts for 60% of the world’s swine population, with China ranking number 1. How is Zinpro helping to overcome the challenges faced by swine producers in China?
“China remains the world’s largest pork and pig producer as well as one of the top pork consuming countries in the world. Yet, a recent focus on environmental regulation implementation has resulted in some reductions in China’s sow herds. Coupled with the fact that domestic consumption outpaces domestic production in China, there is a shortage of pork. Producers in China are facing many challenges, which include genetics and parent-stock quality, animal well-being, disease outbreaks, inconsistent feed-efficiency and environmental concerns. Domestic breeds constitute a very limited percentage of the total pork consumption in China. For a vast and historically pork-consuming country with huge swine genetic pools, this is surprising. Imported breeds are not performing anywhere near world standards. Disease pressures, differences in facilities and on-farm management play a big role. As we look to identify solutions to these many challenges, Zinpro Performance Minerals® (including Availa®Zn, Availa®Fe, Availa®Cu, Availa®Cr, Availa®Mn) can play an important role. For instance, our research shows the essential amino acid complexes found in Availa®Sow can help improve lactation feed intake, which reduces weight loss in lactation. This in turn helps improve wean to oestrus intervals and subsequent reproductive performance. Research shows feeding our essential amino acid complexes to sows results in more piglets born alive, increased weaning weights and more productive pigs in grow/finish. Data has also demonstrated that feeding trace minerals from our Performance Minerals can help decrease lameness and improve semen quality. Other research shows that feeding our Performance Minerals to the parent stock can significantly improve the quality of piglets born, which contributes greatly to the bottom line. Feed efficiency is another critical area. China depends on imports for many feed ingredients, especially soybean meal, so feed costs can be high, and can fluctuate significantly. Zinpro Performance Minerals have been proven to improve feed efficiency in many species, both under stressed or non-stressed conditions. Waste management is another key issue for swine production in China. This is especially critical since agricultural land in China has been utilised in nearly every possible place available. With these challenges in mind, it’s important to note that just a one-point improvement in feed efficiency represents a huge reduction in faecal output. More weaned piglets, increased sow parity, and enhanced immune status results in less mortality, another hot button in China pig production. These environmental issues are very real. Even a small improvement will have a big impact.”
What tools are you delivering to the swine industry to help solve these issues, both for China and North Asia?
“We are committed to the swine industry, not just in China and North Asia, but across the globe. Throughout North Asia, and the world, we routinely sponsor and hold regional swine seminars. In addition, we routinely bring in experts from our Research and Nutritional Services (RNS) team to travel with our in-country sales personnel to provide technical know-how to our customers. North Asia is a large region, but we are leveraging our expertise to provide support to our growing customer base. Zinpro has also brought initiatives like our Feet First® Programme to the region. This programme provides answers to basic questions about swine lameness and its impact on animal wellness and productivity.”
Author: Mark Moore