21 November 1997

Wet feed as effective as growth promoters

WET feed systems for pigs are as effective at boosting weight gains as growth promoters.

Thats according to Danish research into growth promoter alternatives.

Neils Kjeldsen of Denmarks national committee of pig breeding, health and production told the Society of Feed Technologists at Kegworth, Notts, that use of in-feed antibiotic growth promoters was increasing. Alternative methods of sustaining performance would have to be researched and implemented quickly.

"Research has been directed at wet feeding which increases intakes and, in particular, the use of fermented wet feed," he said.

To date Danish research has shown that fermented wet systems boost lactic acid in the stomach and decrease microbial activity in the gut by a factor of 10 – similar to the effect of antibiotic growth promoters.

Traditional wet feed systems can be enhanced by adding lactic acid which has increased growth rates from 880g/day to 970g/day, reduced feed conversion ratio from 2.5 to 2.3 and cut coliform bugs.

Dry feed systems could also add organic acids, acid salts, flavourings and aromatics which have increased growth rates by 3.6% for young pigs. Mr Kjeldsen also suggested feeding herbs which have improved gains by up to 10% in Danish trials.

There was also scope to improve feed use efficiency through improved management practices – such as using phase feeding which could better match feed with changing growth potential – and improved health measures.

"Improved health will yield increased growth rates and batch rearing, all-in, all-out and reduced stocking rates will have to be implemented by Danish producers."

He said public and media concerns over antibiotic use on farms were pressuring the government to ban all in-feed antibiotic growth promoters.

It had been decided, therefore, that from Jan 1, 1998 all in-feed growth promoters for pigs over 30kg would be banned.

Spot-checks would be used to check up on use and producers caught feeding promoters to pigs over 30kg would be fined heavily.

Boosting growth rates without antibiotics could see a switch to wet feeding or use of herbs and flavourings in diets.

PROMOTER ALTERNATIVES

&#8226 Use of wet feed systems, especially fermented wet feed.

&#8226 Herbs, organic acids, acid salts, flavourings, aromatics.

&#8226 Phase feeding to match feed with changing growth potential.

&#8226 Improved health measures such as all-in, all-out systems.