Feed manufacturers should keep an eye on developments in medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) this year, as a new landscape for swine production emerges.
Canadian Bio-Systems (CBS) has listed MCFAs alongside yeast bioactives and grain management as the top innovations to follow as antibiotic alternatives become available.
The feed science company believes new options for bio-based feed additives are coming under the spotlight, with MCFA development particularly prominent.
MCFAs are molecules consisting of 6-12 carbon length chains that can enhance swine diets and help integrate swine management. Under the right formulation they have shown functional activities beneficial to all phases of livestock production and value chain movement. This includes during critical periods of transition and vulnerability over the course of production cycles.
MCFAs have also been shown to help optimize intrinsic health and immunity across livestock species by positively supporting gut morphology.
The additive is well-established in Europe, as producers transition towards the reduction or removal 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 of Nuscience (CBS is a strategic partner for Nuscience originated MCFA technology).
MCFAs have been shown to be effective against enveloped swine viruses, including porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus and porcine reproductive and respiratory virus.
Researchers are also investigating their potential for guarding against ASF. They have also been shown to be helpful in reducing vertical transmission of disease between sows and piglets, and in addressing persistent bacterial pathogen threats such as Streptococcus suis.
Canadian Bio-Systems also believes Yeast Bioactives, a brand new category of swine feed additive will prove to be a game changer. Working as an enhanced yeast and grain management option, they have shown a number of benefits in particular in places where the reduction or replacement of antimicrobial use is taking place.
Yeast Bioactives have shown a high level of prebiotic activity and help mitigate a number of potential threats that can undermine feed quality, animal performance and health and food safety.
They tick the boxes for on-farm and retail customers, as well as meat consumers, according to Dr. Anna Rogiewicz of the University of Manitoba, one of the researchers involved in developing the additives.
“Yeast Bioactives gives swine operations a valuable new option in the toolbox,” Dr. Rogiewicz says.
Advances in grain management have also been delivering new opportunities for producers.
Mycotoxin management ultimately requires a view of feed sources from the farm to the feedmill, through feed processing and storage, incorporating everything from risk assessment to feed management.
Mycotoxins expert Dr. Tony Wang of CBS advises that thinking strategically is critical.
“We have the tools now . . . we just have to use them,” says Dr. 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, he says. A number of high-quality options exist to support clean feed before consumption by the animal. Further options exist to protect that 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. Today’s top feed technology options active within the tract serve a ‘Protect. Bind. Repair.’ role.”