The buzz and chatter at IPPE in Atlanta is focused on fresh approaches, as the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) and antibiotic usage trends are driving news ways to raise poultry and other livestock. Science and nutrition advances are up to the task, providing operations with a suite of new and improved options
"The good news is that changes such as the VFD are coming at a time when livestock production has other tools and approaches it can rely on," says Owen Jones, President of Canadian Bio-Systems Inc., which has pioneered the science, development and manufacturing of bio-based feed supplements for over 30 years. "Antimicrobials have their place when they are needed to treat specific disease issues. But we have other ways to support optimal health, performance and productivity as part of a normal production cycle. We have solutions that help keep disease risk low, are good for the animals, help improve the bottom line of producers and fit the expectations of what customers and consumers want."
Every new year brings new changes. For 2017 and beyond, a top trend on the horizon is a big jump in the use of bio-based feed additives -- ones that fit the type of inputs and enhancements that customers and consumers are increasingly demanding.
The bottom line is simple. Feed additives are more accepted if they are considered bio-based or ‘natural’. With advances in science and related product development, a strong portfolio of bio-based tools are now in place to give producers good options for every need and type of operation.
There is growing consensus among all components of livestock industries, both in the U.S. and Canada, that shifting to greatly restricted use of antimicrobials is critical to the future. But the elephant in the room is the question of how these industries will cope with replacing the productivity benefits that traditional use of antimicrobials has provided.
Now a silver lining for productivity advantages is emerging, with advances in natural growth promoters (NGPs) showing the potential to not only replace productivity benefits associated with antimicrobials but to leapfrog those with broader benefits and higher productivity returns. Leading examples of NGPs include enzymes, yeast-derived nucleotides and yeast cell wall carbohydrates that support optimal health, performance and productivity.
Achieving reduced antimicrobial use is, obviously, easier said that done. Even in stirct RWA or ABF systems, animal welfare dictates that if any animals need to be treated with antimicrobials for health reasons that’s what is done. Treated animals can be separated out for a different market.
But strong success with these systems is more possible than ever though integrated approaches to disease management. Along with use of NGPs and other health and productivity enhancing bio-based options, some of the keys include: 1) intense regular cleaning and disinfecting, 2) strict biosecurity protocals, and 3) strong monitoring combined proactive approaches when neeeded to quickly address potential issues.
Another "new normal" for livestock industries is that feeding strategies and additives used are more accepted if they not only improve production but also improve the health and welfare of the animals. Again, the science and related products are now in place to provide great options for every operation that hit this 'win-win' target zone.
Driving these changes -- and increasingly, often dictating them -- are new expectations from consumers and retailers. This includes heavyweights of the food industry who increasingly want bio-based, welfare-friendly inputs and approaches verified in the production chain. This creates challenges, but also new opportunities for operations and industry to achieve preferred supplier status by making the right adjustments.