A new landscape of swine production is emerging at 2020 approaches, bringing new challenges but also promising new solutions to help producers get the best results possible for their operations.

Here are a few of the top innovations to watch:

1. Medium Chain Fatty Acid Technology

New science-driven, bio-based feed additive options have become a major focus, and one of the areas of innovation gaining attention is medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) technology.

MCFAs offer a fresh approach to enhancing swine diets and supporting integrated swine management strategies designed to optimize animal health and performance across all key phases of production.

This technology is well established in Europe, where it has helped production systems sustain or optimize animal wellness and performance while they successfully transition toward a reduction or removal of the use of antibiotics.

"The more we have learned about the advantages of MCFA for swine production, the more the opportunities and application strategies have expanded," says veterinarian and MCFA expert Dr. Fokko Aldershoff – part of the team supporting the adoption of MCFA across Canada.

MCFA are molecules consisting of 6 to 12 carbon length chains that – under the right formulations and strategies – have shown functional activities beneficial to all phases of livestock production and value chain movement. This includes particular advantages during critical periods of transition and vulnerability over the course of production cycles. The leading MCFA technology has also been shown to help optimize intrinsic health and immunity across livestock species by positively supporting gut morphology.

In swine, along with broad animal performance benefits, among the specific pathogen control advantages with MCFA include supporting strategies to safeguard feed and animals against a number of top concerns including against enveloped viruses, such as porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, porcine reproductive and respiratory virus. Potential is also being investigated to help guard against and African swine fever (ASF). MCFA also shows unique advantages to reduce vertical transmission of disease between sows and piglets and to address persistent bacterial pathogen threats such as Streptococcus suis.

2. Yeast Bioactives technology

Another exciting innovation is “Yeast Bioactives” – a brand new category of feed technology for swine that works as an enhanced yeast and grain management option. It shows advantages for all types of production systems, including those targeting reduction or replacement of antimicrobial use.

Yeast Bioactives help to mitigate a number of potential threats that can undermine feed quality, animal performance, animal health and food safety. It has also shown a high level of prebiotic activity that further supports an optimal environment for animal wellness, performance and related productivity

As a bio-based feed ingredient, it fits the type of solution favored not only on-farm but also by retail customers and consumers of animal-based food products, says Dr. Anna Rogiewicz of the University of Manitoba, one of the researcher institutions involved in developing the technology. on the discovery research. “Yeast Bioactives gives swine operations a valuable new option in the toolbox.”

3. Grain management technology

Advances in grain management technology are also bringing new opportunities for producers. Mycotoxin management ultimately requires a big picture viewpoint that considers the full progression of feed sources from the farm to the feed mill and through feed processing and storage, as well as the full spectrum from risk assessment to feed management.

Mycotoxins expert Dr. Tony Wang, who was trained at the University of Saskatchewan and has a strong research focus on feed and mycotoxin studies, says that thinking strategically is critical.

"We have the tools now -- we just need to use them," says Wang. "Having feed samples tested regularly and taking advantage of the latest feed technology solutions are two big components. Testing has improved -- it is much more robust and practical. Feed technology solutions have also improved, driven by new science-based advances.”

Interventions using feed technology should be applied strategically based on proper sample collection and analysis, says Wang. A number of high-quality options exist to support clean feed before consumption by the animal. Further options exist to protect the animal from possible contaminants that are consumed. "When looking at the possible options for animal protection, a key focus is activity in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), Today's top feed technology options active within the GIT serve a "Protect. Bind. Repair." role, he says.