21 June 2002

First AGP alternative is ready for launch

ANTIBIOTIC growth promoters are expected to disappear by 2006, but a new alternative should help to maintain young pig performance at similar levels.

Launched on July 1, Formi – an acid additive based on potassium di-formate – is the first registered alternative to antibiotics, says Paul Blanchard of Frank Wright BASF which will manufacture and market the product.

"It has cost millions of ks to register and has had to undergo safety, performance and residue studies as part of the process."

The product works by lowering pH in pigs guts, he says. "It keeps pH constantly less than 4.5. This promotes natural gut microflora which assists digestion and absorption of nutrients. It also reduces populations of potentially pathogenic coliform and salmonella bugs."

Trials on Formi show that in pigs up to 35kg liveweight, it improves daily liveweight gain by 11% and feed conversion ratio by 5.64%, compared with a diet containing no growth promoter. This compares with an improvement on control for AGP, avilamycin (Maxus) of 10.54% for DLWG and 6.26% for FCR. "The reason FCR is poorer for diets containing Formi compared with those containing avilamycin is that pigs eat more of the former."

The product is registered for an inclusion level of 6kg/t of feed but the company is seeking registration for inclusion at 12kg/t which it believes will further improve performance. "It costs £1/kg and, at an inclusion level of 6kg/t, saves 20p/pig through improved performance compared with the control diet," says Dr Blanchard. &#42

Life without AGPs may be a little less scary following the launch of an alternative, says Paul Blanchard.