Weaning is a critical period in the life of piglets and calves, because the stress caused by separation from the dam, environment change and mixing of animals from different lots weakens their immune status. Moreover, the change from a liquid to a solid diet commonly results in enteric problems.
To address these issues and maximise the health of piglets, calves, kids and lambs during the weaning phase, Biorigin has drawn on its experience in immunity boosting additives for the aquaculture and pet food segments to develop a product, ProWean, for livestock.
ProWean uses hydrolysed yeast as a protein source, and mannans and glucans to provide a prebiotic effect, “allowing better nutrient utilisation, promoting intestinal health and strengthening the immune system”.
Partial soybean meal replacer
The additive can be applied “on top” of feed formulations as a supplement, or, owing to a typical high digestible protein content of around 38%, as a partial replacer for soybean meal or other protein source, according to Roberto Vituzzo, feed business global manager with Biorigin.
He said recommended dosage is 1% of total feed or 100mg/kg per day, and asked how much this would push up the cost of a feed formulation, answered: “the additional cost will depend on the other ingredients in the formula”.
Vituzzo told FeedNavigator the product had been the subject of many controlled in vivo trials which objectively evaluated gut and general health parameters, specific immunity modulating parameters and performance.
In these trials, piglets supplemented with ProWean demonstrated a 24% lower incidence of acute diarrhoea and 17% higher weight gain as well as a significant increase in the activity of immune cells, compared to a control group.
“We are now continuing to work in partnership with São Paulo State University in Brazil on a new study in piglets and with the University of Kansas in the US on a long term study in calves,” he said.
Demand from dairy
The greatest demand for ProWean is expected to come from the dairy market, for reasons explained by Vituzzo: “Most of the requests we have received have come from the dairy market, specifically directed towards calf nutrition and the prevention of intestinal and respiratory disease – initially this seems to be the most receptive market,” he said.
ProWean is initially being launched in the US and Europe, but the company’s ultimate goal is to make it available to all markets where it has a presence.
Although the focus for ProWean is on young animals, Biorigin said the product was also an excellent supplement for the dry period of cows and sows, particularly for gilts and heifers after first parturition.