Pig producers must adapt now to antibiotic rules

ANTIBIOTIC GROWTH promoters will be banned from pig feed rations in the UK from next year, and producers are being warned to make management changes now.

AGP’s have been included in UK pig diets on a routine basis for over 60 years. They can increase daily liveweight gains by up to 16% in growing pigs and reduce feed conversion rates by up to 5.5%.

These improvements are due to the role of AGP’s in reducing digestive disorder and treating E Coli, Ilietic and Colitis.

According to nutritionists the use of AGP’s can lead to savings in production costs of up to 10%.

When a similar AGP ban was introduced in Denmark in 1998, intestinal scours in young weaners increased leading to the greater use of prescription antibiotics for treatment.

Reduced feed intakes also hit growth rates and longer days to slaughter, with up to 26% of all units experiencing scour problems and high mortality.

UK feed suppliers and vets are warning that management changes including stocking rates and bio-security measures need to be put in place now rather than waiting until the Jan 2006 ban becomes effective.

Any rises in production costs could hit narrow UK pig producer margins hard. 

Larger units also have to face the additional challenges and costs which will apply when Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control rules come into force at the end of 2006.

IPPC rules will apply strict inspection procedures to all pig units with a capacity of over 750 sows or 2000 pigs of 30kg and over.

Failure to remedy IPPC breaches and operating without a permit may lead to strict enforcement action and criminal proceedings.