Weaning without zinc oxide

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

GettyImages/Sabine Froschauer/EyeEm
GettyImages/Sabine Froschauer/EyeEm

Related tags Zinc oxide piglet Diarrhea

The ban on the use of zinc oxide for weaned pigs in the EU comes into effect in June 2022, providing a challenge for EU pig production – how to continue to produce pigs without using a high level zinc oxide at weaning and without relying more on antibiotics to prevent diarrhea.

What’s more, the removal of zinc oxide comes on the back of EU-wide regulation to reduce copper levels in piglet diets, with copper also providing protection against diarrhea.

Zinc oxide is used widely across the EU to prevent and control post-weaning diarrhea (PWD) and bowel oedema disease in young pigs. For example, an estimated 70-90% of starter diets in the UK contain zinc oxide at therapeutic levels.

So what, if any, are the viable and practical alternatives to the use of zinc oxide in pig rations? Well, that is what myself and a panel of experts will be discussing in a webinar that FeedNavigator is running on the topic on July 11 2019.

Stayed tuned for the webinar registration date!

Our speakers will include Lisbeth Shooter, who is a senior manager in SEGES, the pig research center in Denmark; she has overall responsibility for coordinating the pig innovation activities, and manages the feed efficiency team at the center. Lisbeth has good awareness of other pig markets having spent seven years in England working for BPEX, now AHDB Pork, advising pig producers in that market.

She will tell us about some of the research work undertaken at SEGES on alternative feed ingredients in terms of zinc oxide free diets.

We will also be joined by Alfons Jansman, the well-respected senior scientist at Wageningen Livestock Research, in the Netherlands; his areas of focus are digestive physiology in pigs, amino acid requirements and metabolism, and nutrition and health in pigs and poultry.

He will discuss post-weaning feeding strategies, such as reduced protein in weaner diets when medicinal zinc is removed, the impact of the cereal type and starch source used in piglet feeds, and the importance of sow feeding to encourage a higher milk yield and wean more uniform pigs.

Charlotte Lauridsen, head of research, immunology and microbiology, in the Department of Animal Science, at Aarhus University in Denmark, will also be on our panel. Her research activities primarily concern the nutrition and physiology of farmed animals with a focus on understanding the benefits of vitamins, lipids, fatty acids, natural and synthetic antioxidants and selected minerals and feed additives for monogastric animal liveability, health, reproduction, nutrient utilization and product quality.

She will report on the role certain feed additives can play in reducing the occurrence of post-weaning diarrhea when zinc oxide is removed from the piglet diet.

The registration page for the webinar will go live in the coming days – we will keep you posted!

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