25 December 1998

Go-ahead for work on fermented feed

IN a move believed to be triggered by EU ministers ban on four major antibiotic growth promoters, MAFF has given researchers the go-ahead to develop further a system for feeding fermented liquid feed to weaner pigs to protect growth.

University of Plymouth pig specialist, Peter Brooks, says fermented liquid feed is seen as a natural replacement for AGPs. Used to replace sows milk after weaning, liquid feed can remove a check in growth attributed to introduction of dry pellet feed to weaner rations.

According to Prof Brooks, Danish trials using liquid rather than dry pelleted feed found weaner daily liveweight gain improved by over 12%. Fermenting liquid feed – the process that encourages production of gut-friendly microbes liquid – can improve daily liveweight gain by 13%. "An overall improvement in growth rate of 22% should be achievable compared with feeding dry pelleted feed," says Prof Brooks.

While fermented liquid feed has been researched for at least five years in the UK, the £400,000 study, funded by MAFF, MLC and a consortium of liquid feeders, will look at use of inoculants. It also hopes to produce a blueprint for managing these systems. &#42