Pig producers are striving to curb antibiotic use as much as possible, but how do we manage gut health issues without the use of antibiotics? Experts hosted on Pig Progress’ latest antibiotic reduction webinar discuss this pertinent topic and offer interesting insights.
In cooperation with Ceva Animal Health and Perstorp, Pig Progress editor, Vincent ter Beek, hosts this informative webinar where he speaks to experts who share their insights and expertise. Together they each emphasised that antibiotics are problem-solvers and not solutions, focusing on various factors to reduce the use of antibiotics.
Dr van Dijk, senior consultant swine nutrition at Schothorst Feed Research, looked at the development of antibiotic use in pigs before and after 2006 when a ban of antimicrobial growth promoters in the EU was enforced. He highlighted nutrition solutions as an alternative to antibiotics and considered the role of functional fibres and crude protein in feed, and the significance of lower buffering capacity. Van Dijk also shared in his presentation the interesting results of his own PhD research on plasma in pig feed.
“Biosecurity and hygiene will solve 50-60% of the problem, and nutrition another 30%.”
Post-weaning is a big challenge in pig production and numerous stressors are introduced to the pigs which can result in the threat of pathogens, said José Maria Ros Felip, global technical manager at Perstorp Animal Nutrition, who joined virtually from Spain. He noted that in Denmark, a significant pig producer, the average consumption of antibiotics is 2 or 3 times lower than in the EU, so there is room for improvement, he says. This, however, cannot happen overnight; gut health is a long-term solution. He emphasised a holistic approach to gut health and highlighted butyric acids (specifically tributyrin) which, he said, hold a special position among short-chain fatty acids.
“…if biosecurity and nutrition are key, and if these are not prioritised, feed additives can add little value.”
Daniel Šperling, swine corporate technical manager at Ceva Animal Health (Ceva Santé Animale), was the third speaker of the day and discussed the effect of vaccination on the reduction of antibiotics and zinc oxide as well as its effect on feed conversion rate and feed efficiency.
“Vaccination of piglets is the most effective tool for the control of edema disease to reduce/eliminate the need for zinc oxide and antibiotics.”
In closing, one viewer asked how much extra it would cost per kg of pork to introduce measures to keep antibiotics out. Dr van Dijk shares his answer.