Multiple benefits fit RWA and "No Antibiotics Ever" systems while translating to higher profitability

Hog farmers in Canada and the U.S. are in a unique position to take advantage of some of the latest advances in bio-based feed supplements.

Options such as enzymes, nucleotides, yeasts and other feed enhancers offer a range of benefits, covering everything from improved feed efficiency and animal performance to enhanced health and reduced environmental impact.

New science leading the charge

The key to capturing these benefits is selecting the right product formulations based on the right science. Prairie hog farmers already have a strong geographic advantage. A lot of the best science on enzymes and other natural feed supplements has been led by western Canadian universities. A growing number of products now available have been researched, manufactured and developed right here in Western Canada, and are designed to work well with the range of diets fed in this region.

As 2017 shifts ahead, livestock producers utilizing these options have more opportunities than ever to improve profitability, raise healthy and well cared for animals, and meet the new expectations of the marketplace.

“Today we are learning so much more about feed ingredients and how we can get more value from those ingredients in ways that are a good fit with the demands and expectations of modern swine production,” says novel feed ingredients researcher Dr. Anna Rogiewicz of the University of Manitoba.

As production approaches increasingly shift toward natural, bio-based approaches to support animal performance and production benefits, there is a stronger focus on feed as an area where producers can make improvements. The science advances and the industry demands are coming together at the same time, which is good news for livestock producers.

Here is a look behind the curtain at several of the key areas of science progress:

More breakdown with multi-carbohydrase

This concept of using multi-carbohydrase enzymes recognizes that, in a typical livestock diet, there is not just one but in fact several different types of fibre that are indigestible without the aid of the right enzymes to help break down each one into usable added energy.

While in the past many commonly used enzyme products would address only one or two of these fibre components, today advances in multi-carbohydrase enzyme technology allow livestock operations to address most if not all of these components, to achieve as much ‘total breakdown’ as possible. This results in benefits such as much higher feed to gain ratio and reduced waste.

"With multi-carbohydrase technology you are addressing more components so you are getting more breakdown and more benefits," says Rogiewicz. "You are getting the most value possible from the feed source.

“Over years of study, we have built a strong base of data comparing multi-carbohydrase to single activity enzyme options. These data consistently show superior performance in swine when diets are supplemented with multi-carbohydrase versus single activities.”

Fresh advantages with nucleotides and yeasts

Nucleotides are conditionally essential nutrients that research shows help promote optimal growth, alleviate stress and improve immune status in swine. Feed additive formulations with beneficial yeast-based components rich in nucleotides have been shown to support a full range of productivity benefits while supporting gut health.

In addition, advances with a yeast-cell wall additive have been shown to stimulate tissue growth, while another, a combination of yeast technologies, has shown a prebiotic effect as well as benefits for tissue recovery.

Icing on the cake

One of the most attractive advantages of these and the full range of bio-based options is that they serve as viable alternatives to not only meet but substantially exceed the production benefits associated with medicated feed, providing a timely and valuable option as new demands and rules come into play restricting medicated feed use.

“These benefits are particularly important and demand increases for new ways to achieve production benefits while eliminating or reducing the use of antimicrobials,” says Rogiewicz. “The more we learn about these options, the brighter the future appears for the next generation of swine production.”