It is not a new given that nutrition is a powerful tool to control or prevent diseases or other unwanted conditions in farm animals. But it is more recent that nutrition is also actively used as a tool to promote animal health.
Along with more stringent reduction in antibiotic growth promoters in areas such as North America and Asia, the value of nutrition and supplements is getting more recognised. Also food safety and hence human health can be influenced by feeding the right diet.
A great example is the US company Diamond V, who uses its yeast based supplement as a method for foodborne pathogen reduction in livestock. CEO of the company Jeff Cannon told us that already in 2007, they noticed that animals receiving this yeast based supplement in the feed, had a much lower content of pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter in their manure than animals in the control group. Further research showed also less pathogens in their environment. The animals were also healthier and performed better. The company now has a patent pending for it.
I believe the above mentioned example is a great one that shows how animal and human health can be improved at the source of the production line (feed). AB Vista also uses feed supplements, in this case enzymes, to gain additional health effects on top of the nutritional value of the enzymes. They can be used as a tool to reduce wet litter and hence footpad dermatitis (FPD) in broilers. Although FPD is a ‘multi-factorial’ issue, changes in feeding or diet composition can result in significant improvements. The enzyme xylanase is known to reduce wet litter. But new insights have shown that when phytase superdosing (typically three to four times the standard phytase dose rate) is employed, litter is drier, and there is an observable decrease in the incidence of FPD.
Along with the significant improvements in FCR, such gains mean that this novel approach is likely to be of interest to a wide range of commercial poultry producers. It also expands the role that feed can play in reducing the problems associated with wet litter, to the benefit of both the poultry producers and the feed industry that supplies them. So, feed is more than just a set of nutritients. It is a valuable tool to maintain animal and human health.
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