MANHATTAN, Kan. – Reducing bacteria in nursery diets can improve pig performance with minimal costs, according to a Kansas State University study.
The research, headed by K-State graduate student Joel DeRouchey, gauged the effect of decreasing bacteria in spray-dried animal plasma in nursery diets on growth performance.
The bacteria was reduced through electronic pasteurization of spray-dried animal plasma or by applying Termin-8, an antimicrobial preservative.
Termin-8 eliminates Salmonella contamination in feeds and feed ingredients. In this study, it was added to the spray-dried animal plasma component, or the whole diet.
“In a previous study, we found that irradiating the blood-plasma components in the nursery diet greatly improved average daily gain in the pigs,” DeRouchey said.
“The purpose of this study was to see if we could get the same results by using a commercial product and comparing the results with irradiated spray-dried animal plasma.”
The results showed that decreasing bacteria in spray-dried animal plasma (either with irradiation or Termin-8) in the nursery diet led to improved average daily gain and average daily feed intake in pigs during the first two weeks post-weaning.
However, when the whole diet was treated with Termin-8, no benefits were observed.
DeRouchey said the improved performance may be attributed to the decreased bacteria from the spray-dried animal plasma that may alleviate stress put on the young pigs.
“At 2-3 weeks post-weaning, the pigs are moving from a liquid diet to a solid. Their immune system is challenged more than any other time in their life span,” DeRouchey said.
“By irradiating or applying Termin-8 to the blood products in the nursery diet, we are reducing the bacteria, which further reduces stress on the young pigs.”
It’s still not clear, however, why treatment of the whole diet with Termin-8 did not alter growth performance compared to the control diet.
Although Termin-8 is not currently used in the swine diets, feed manufacturers are considering using either Termin-8 or irradiation to treat the blood-plasma components of a swine diet.
Once it becomes available, producers could see a low-cost way to increase growth and productivity of nursery pigs.
“We are talking pennies per pig for the improved growth. This is definitely economically justifiable,” DeRouchey said.
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