October 30, 2017

Trouw Nutrition: Possible to reduce antibiotics without affecting profits



Ten million people will die due to antibiotic resistance, according to the "Antimicrobial Resistance Review" published by the UK government in 2014.

Of all the antibiotics used worldwide, 80% is used for livestock production. The swine and poultry industries are responsible for the largest amount of antibiotic consumption. These data might explain the growing need for animal producers to find strategies that support the reduction of antibiotic use.

An integrated approach to reduce the need for antibiotics

Besides the changes in legislation restricting the use of antibiotics around the world, there is also a surging demand for antibiotic-free produced meat from customers. This adds an extra incentive for producers, Trouw Nutrition said.

Furthermore, meat from animals raised without antibiotics targets a niche market that will grow over time.

The good news is that the feed industry is working to develop solutions to help animal producers address the anticipated changes ahead.

During the ABC Challenge Asia conference on17 October, Dr. Emma Teirlynck from Trouw Nutrition presented this topic.

In her presentation, "Role of functional feed additives in antibiotic reduction strategies", the poultry expert remarked that reducing antibiotics in broiler production is a global trend and necessity.

The main concern, as expected, is related to the potential drop in animal performance and, therefore, in profitability. Dr. Teirlynck expressed optimism when explaining that it is possible to reduce the need for antibiotics while maintaining -or even improving- profitability. The key, she stressed, is implementing an integrated feed-farm-health approach.

Optimising a complete production chain

The antibiotic reduction strategies, which Dr. Teirlynck revealed in her presentation, focus on the optimisation of the total production chain.

Trouw Nutrition, she explained, integrates feed, farm, and health management into a customer specific solution that addresses the particular challenge the producer is facing.

"To reduce the need for antibiotics, we have to take into account, for example, raw material management, feed safety, biosecurity and hygiene, water quality and health management, among other topics. Only by optimising all these aspects, we can see actual results and succeed in reducing antibiotics use while maintaining or improving profitability," the expert said.

"It is impossible to do this alone. Trouw Nutrition has a rich network of global and local specialists that can help to optimise the production system at each level. It is a team effort", she added.

Gut health challenges are a critical threat to animal performance and can be managed with feed additives. The combination of different products can improve poultry gut health significantly, preserving or enhancing productivity.

While some additives work to support digestion and the natural barrier against Gram-negative bacteria, others improve the microbial balance throughout the small intestine, boosting gut barrier integrity.

Success measured by results

To conclude, Dr. Teirlynck presented a business case that exposes the success of this approach. Trouw Nutrition applied its antibiotic reduction programme in a poultry integration in Israel that was able to reach the goal of producing without antibiotics and ionophores. The number of flocks raised without antibiotics went from 89.1 % to 98.8%. There is also a 3% improvement in the feed conversion ratio compared to when antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) and ionophores were still involved. The commercial success of this customer, she said, shows the efficiency of the approach and proves that reducing antibiotics without harming profitability is an actual possibility.

- Trouw Nutrition

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