The overall goal of the program, which launched earlier this summer, is to address the performance issues stemming from the removal of antibiotics, said Jared Hux, senior marketing manager, Novus North America,
He told us: “As more and more producer companies [are making] the transition towards removing antibiotics, we kept hearing from customers about the challenges they were facing. We look at our people and our research and we see experts with a strong background in keeping animals productive and optimizing their health – organizing our efforts to partner with customers to share this knowledge just made sense.”
It is a multi-step project to remove the antibiotics used in animal production, said Hux.
“The ABF transition requires changes to all major elements of production,” he said. "This includes farm management practices such as down time, health and veterinary services, nutrition, and marketing.”
Management practices likely will need to be reviewed, as different protocols are necessary to manage several production areas including litter, downtime, temperature, humidity, population density and grow out time, said Hux.
Planning and detailing those systems in advance can make the transition go more smoothly, added Hux.
Producers also have to be prepared in advance for disease outbreaks, said Hux. “Producers have to remember that if a flock becomes sick, there has to be a treatment plan in place, including a marketing plan, to get those birds healthy again and not compromise welfare,” he continued.
Additionally, more preventative attention may be needed for areas like gut health, he said. Practices can be put in place to help protect birds from necrotic enteritis or piglets from E. coli challenges.
“When the gut of the animal is healthy and functioning at a high level, the pathogens they encounter become less of a challenge for the animal,” he said. “The result is little to no loss in performance. Gut health can be optimized in a multitude of ways including through the use of probiotic, organic acid and trace mineral nutrition.”
The project in the US is being undertaken with support from colleagues in the EU, who have huge experience in alternatives to antibiotic use, said Hux. “It is through our cross learning and research with those teams that we made the decision to formalize the project and aggressively reach out to customers to work with them,” he added.
The effort is expected to grow as other regions around the world start to make similar decisions, he said.
The North American team has already started working with customers interested in changing production systems or addressing challenges, he said.
The company is also continuing to research how products function when antibiotics are removed from the production system, and why they work in that manner, said Hux.