Feed Farm Health approach to reach natural gut health while reducing antibiotics
Big data from animal trials show how feed, farm and health management contribute to reduced antibiotics in poultry production, while maintaining performance and profitability.
Poultry integrators are an important part of the food chain and need solutions to assure sustainable animal health and productivity, minimizing the use of antibiotics. Trouw Nutrition's R&D Director, Professor Leo den Hartog, shared his view on reduction of antibiotics at the global EuroTier fair in Germany.
The part-time Wageningen University professor explained that too many antibiotics are used in animal production, becoming a global issue in the agenda of nearly all countries around the globe. In his opinion, the challenge can only be faced with an integrated approach. "A drastic reduction of antibiotics in food production can be achieved if we move to a new farming model based on integrated and multi-stakeholder collaboration," he explained.
Trouw Nutrition introduces the Natural Gut Health strategy to help its customers maintain performance while reducing antibiotics. This strategy combines farm, feed and health management. Den Hartog: "Good nutrition means starting from the beginning of the production cycle with good quality ingredients but also with natural feed additives." When developing the integrated approach it was especially stressed that nutrition does not stand on its own, but needs to be accompanied by optimizing farm management and enhancing animal health.
Some examples to showcase antibiotic reduction is possible
Implementing this integrated approach delivers same or even better performance results while significantly reducing the use of antibiotics, as shown in conclusions from several field trials. A study in Indonesia with 300,000 broilers showed that broilers fed feed additives reached similar performance to animals that were on AGPs. The use of a functional feed additive via drinking water and another in the feed showed comparable good results as with AGPs, achieving a high performance index (figure 1). Furthermore, both groups had a low mortality rate (4.0% and 4.1%) which confirms the outstanding performance of the broilers in this trial.
Figure 1. Gut health supporting feed additives ensure performance in an AGP-free production system (Performance Index calculated based on % livability and weight gain).
In a second case, an extensive German data analysis showed how feed additives and improved farm management can contribute to reduced antibiotics in poultry production. The data used came from 29 million broilers from 11 German farms, collected in five years, over 339 cycles. The farms applying new farming management (e.g. water hygiene, bio security) and functional feed additives, confirmed that it was possible to decrease the use of antibiotics by 59% (figure 2) while reducing mortality by 28% and FCR by 5.3% (data not shown).
Figure 2. Applying improvements in management together with feed additives resulted in antibiotic use reduction of 59%.
Implementing feed, farm and health management is a change of mind-set. Therefore, it is important to show to animal producers that implementing this integrated approach delivers same or even better results. In this concept, it is of crucial importance that animal nutrition experts work together with farming and veterinary professionals to educate producers. Collaboration is the best way forward to face the challenge and take the next step towards antibiotic free production.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Selko, Trouw Nutrition