New advances in science, market demands, product innovations and industry needs are all coming together to drive innovation in these areas:

1. Bio-based tools innovation

Leading the charge is a brand new category of feed technology with broad advantages for the new landscape of livestock production.

“Yeast Bioactives” technology is a yeast-based innovation designed for use as a feed supplement in diets for swine. It fits as an enhanced yeast and grain management option with advantages for all types of production systems, including those targeting reduction or replacement of antimicrobial use.

“The introduction of Yeast Bioactives technology is a major innovation for the global animal feed sector that comes at an important time of industry evolution,” says Dr. Anna Rogiewicz of the University of Manitoba. “It represents a leap forward in consistency and efficacy compared to conventional yeast cell wall components used in animal feed. It offers a unique solution that addresses many of the current trends and needs of the industry.”

Yeast Bioactives technology has shown properties and activities that 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.

The new Yeast Bioactives technology stems from multiple years of discovery research in partnership with the novel feed technology research program led by Dr. Bogdan Slominski at the University of Manitoba, which includes Rogiewicz as part of the team.

2. New era sees rise of “Natural Growth Promoters”

A number of bio-based feed additive options can help support reduced antibiotics of RWA systems, including providing benefits to replace or improve upon productivity benefits. These types of options are now becoming increasingly referred to as ‘Natural Growth Promoters’ (NGPs) because they enhance performance in a natural way that is acceptable to end customers.

Leading examples of NGPs include multi-carbohydrase enzymes, yeast-derived nucleotides and yeast cell wall carbohydrates that support optimal health, performance and productivity.

“There is growing consensus that shifting to greatly reduced use of antimicrobials is critical to the future,” saysRogiewicz, novel feed technology researcher at the University of Manitoba. “But the challenge is how to replace the productivity benefits that traditional use of antibiotics has provided. Feed additives that serve as NGPs provide an excellent option.”

3. New potential in grain management technology

Another area that is becoming a major focus is the need to protect swine production from the growing risk of feed contaminants such as mycotoxins.

Testing to protect against contaminants is now recommended at all key stages involving procurement and use of feed grains. It can often be tied together with broader feed quality analysis to assist with balancing feed rations and optimizing nutritional strategies.

With new convenient and fast testing options, this is simple to get done and provides swine operations with the peace of mind of knowing what they’re dealing with. Once producers know the presence and level of any contaminants, they can take the steps needed to ensure clean feed and avoid any issues. Feed additive options that protect feed grain safety and quality have come a long way and are now widely available, offering a reliable tool that can serve as a valuable insurance policy.

4. Breaking new ground with MCFAs

With all this progress taking shape, new science continues to push the envelope. Following the implementation of new rules regarding the use of antimicrobials and continued advancement of key sustainability initiatives, a top example of the most cutting-edge innovations taking hold is medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) technology.

Among numerous benefits, science is uncovering specific MCFA advantages that support animal health and performance, providing an in-feed safeguard against viral contamination, protecting animals against a variety of wellness and stress challenges and supporting control strategies against major pathogens.

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.

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 are supporting strategies to safeguard feed and animals against a number of top concerns. This includes the potential shown against enveloped viruses, such as porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, porcine reproductive and respiratory virus 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.