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Progress In R&D On Zinc Alternatives In Pig Feed

- Jun 01, 2018 -

Progress in R&D on zinc alternatives in pig feed

Sow diets,digestible protein,fiber and feed additives are all being considered as elements in the effort to end the use of zinc oxide in piglet feed in Denmark,says expert.

We caught up with Torben Skov Ancker,product manager at Hornsyld kobmandsgaard in Denmark at one 18,the Alltech's ideas conference last week to hear more about his presentation and the ongoing work with piglet and sow diets as part of the preparations for the EU'S impending ban on the use zinc oxide in swine diets.

The EU issued in a 5-year transitional period last year for the zinc oxide phase out. Denmark is known for considerable use for ZnO in weaned piglet dieats,with zinc oxide said to be a very effective way to tackle post -weaning diarrhea.winthin that timeframe,EU states have to work on alternative methods to tackle this problem in piglets.The Danish Pig Research Center has ongoningresearch trials examining a series of alternative feed ingradients.

“We already know that some feed additives have an effect on diarrhea E.coli and all that,so they start up tasting some commercial products like seaweed,probiotics,and some yeast products which were commercial and that companies are using to reduce diarrhea and then they teast it against zinc oxide at 2500ppm,”he said.“they conducted that trail and they didn't see any effect at all by using these prodcts conpared to zinc oxide.” 

However,that project was only one stage of the ongoing effort,h`e added.

“The Danish research center has three themes and then 12 concrete things they will do-the first theme was to see what was on the market and try that.”

Replacing zinc oxide 

In addition to trails on commercially available products,the Denish Research Center asked companies throughout Europeto suggest ideas of feed ingredients that might work,said Ancker,The project received 23applications and is now examining the use of four combinations.

The alternative product combinations are being examined against the using of 2500ppm zinc, and about 212 of 60 intended replications have been completed,he said.elements being considered in the combinations include using limited protein,adding more threonine and lysine,organic acids,probiotic,fire,additional enzymes,organic mineral use and monoglycerides.

The results of the studies have yet to be completely published,he said.However,reviewing the information released it is apparent that two of the combinations are seeing a reduced need for piglets to be treated for diarrhea when compare to the group getting the zinc oxide additive.

“We know that works at reducing diarrhea and the fiber sources can do good things and organic acids as well,but I don't think we'll find one single product that will replace, ”he added.

Anker said he has been trying diets with highly digestible protein and a novel soy protein concentrate that has low PH and potassium.“I think we have found something that can help us in the right direction,but I think we still need to combine it with the low protein," he added.

There is also interest in examining further the role of thesow'sdiet in piglet production,he said.“if you can get a higher nilk yield and wean more uniform pigs-it's much easier to wean a pig which is 7-8 kios than 4-5 kilo pigs and that will also help us get rid of the zinc oxide”he said

Phasing out zinc and antibiotics

Several factors were involved in the EU’s decision to ban zinc oxide in swine feed.There are concerns about the levels of the feed additive collecting in soil and what that concentration will mean in the long term.

There also have been health concerns regarding the use of zinc oxide and MRSA in swine and bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics,said Ancker

Zinc tend to be added to feed during the first two weeks after piglet are weaned to reduce instance of diarrhea,but it also used at lower levers in the feed of older pigs.

“About 20-25% of farmer could already take out the zinc because their farms are so well managed.”He said,”they have a high health status with nice new stables for the pigs and they could actually take out the zinc today.We already have farmers using no zinc oxide at all.,but as it is now they have a safe line,they can use a little more antibiotic,and they can still use zinc if it becomes a problem. ”

Additionally,regulations do not allow producer to increase the use of antibiotics as the feed additive is cut.said Ancker.

“We are not allowed to use more antibiotics even though we have the lowest use of antibiotic when you compare us to the other important pig industries in Europe like Spain and Germany and the Netherlands,”he said,”we have the lowest and now we’re getting the (Zno)ban-we need to have a solution which can help us without negatively affecting welfare.”

Potential positives

There is a concerns that the reformulated feeds will be more experience.said Ancker

However,feed intake can be limited when zinc is included in the diet,he said .Removing it may improve the side of the things.he said

Using of zinc also presents challenges for veterinarians and feedmills stemming from the paper work involved and the need to flush a feedmill after zinc is used.he said ,”we have to have a big cleaning so we don’t have any carryover because we still have to follow the feed legislation by now much zinc oxide as an additive we can have in the feed,so I’m looking forward to having a solution,”he added.

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