27 March 1998

Wet feed pH check may lift gastric health

CONTROLLED fermentation of wet feed would be one way to improve gastro-intestinal health of pigs receiving diets without antibiotic growth promoters, according to Danish research.

Provisional results show that the best propagation of beneficial microbes, such as lactic acid bacteria and yeast cells, occurs when pH in the wet feed is about 4.5 and temperature about 20C (68F).

In practice the pH of the wet feed is often too high and the temperature too low compared with these optimum conditions.

Researchers suggest it may be difficult to lower the wet feed to 4.5pH because soaking time is too short and the volume of feed being used too small for the microbes to have time to propagate and produce the lactic acid that lowers pH.

Optimum conditions for growth of beneficial microbes are achieved at soaking time of at least eight hours and a residual amount of 50%. &#42