SUMMARY
  • The ban on therapeutic levels of zinc oxide in piglet diets has been estimated to result in losses of up to €1,080 million/year for the EU pig industry.
  • Losses of €4.15/pig/year due to higher mortality and reduced daily weight gain.
  • Genex weaner is a blend of buffered and free organic acids, with oregano essential oils, on a mineral carrier and has been shown to be an effective replacement for therapeutic zinc oxide in this trial.

 

BACKGROUND
  • Zinc is routinely used to control post-weaning scours but has been linked to environmental pollution and antibiotic resistance in some bacteria, such as MRSA. (Yazdankhah et al., 2014)
  • The European commission has banned pharmacological levels of zinc (>150ppm) in piglet diets by 2022.

 

TRIAL DESIGN

Anpario have recently supported a commercial trial in Yorkshire to understand the effects of replacing 3.1kg/t zinc oxide (Zincotec, , SCA NuTec (Provimi Ltd)) in weaning piglets with 4kg/t Genex Weaner (Anpario plc). Piglets were randomly allocated to treatment diets at weaning for a duration of 28 days. Body weight and feed intake were measured on day 0 and 28. ZnO pigs were fed creep 1 and 2 as per standard practice and Genex pigs were fed creep 1 all the way through. All diets contained standard antibiotics for the unit.

Treatment Nº Pigs at start Removals* Diets Details
ZnO 169 5

Diet 1: high spec

Diet 2:  medium spec

Zinc Oxide (Zincotec) 3.1kg/t
GEN 177 2 Diet 1: high spec Genex Weaner 4kg/t

* Removals is the number of piglets which have died or been moved to a hospital pen

RESULTS

Average daily weight gain (ADWG) and Average daily feed intake (ADFI) per pig for the 28 day trialFigure 1. Average daily weight gain (ADWG) and Average daily feed intake (ADFI) per pig for the 28 day trial

  • Genex weaner has shown similar performance in ADWG and ADFI to the standard zinc oxide treatment.
  • Less pigs were removed from the Genex Weaner group compared to the zinc oxide group which equates to a 2% improvement in survivability.
  • The price per treated tonne is similar for the two treatments (Genex is £1/treated tonne cheaper), however in this trial only one Genex weaner diet was fed rather than two and so intakes were higher than expected.
  • Return per pig was calculated and Genex Weaner provided a 10% improvement over the zinc oxide control, due to the improved average final body weight (16.56kg compared to 15.6kg).
  • This study suggests Genex weaner could be a suitable eubiotic to replace therapeutic levels of zinc oxide.