New insights into phytogenics

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Trials conducted at different universi- ties and ... feed conversion ratio has been observed in recent trials ... Similarly, recent observations from a field trial con-.

New insights into phytogenics Phytogenic concepts in piglets benefits of a proven approach Tobias Steiner

Director Competence Center Phytogenics

Tobias Steiner Director Competence Center Phytogenics

New insights into phytogenics

Phytogenic concepts in piglets - benefits of a proven approach Summary

Phytogenics affect feed conversion

Phytogenics represent a promising category of naturally-derived growth promoters originating from herbs and spices. Many phytogenic agents are well known from human nutrition, where they have a long tradition in the flavoring of foods. It is, however, not only their flavoring properties, but also a number of biological activities, which make phytogenics an encouraging approach in animal nutrition. Trials conducted at different universities and research institutes in Europe and in the United States have shown considerable positive effects of phytogenics on growth performance. Significant improvements in feed conversion have been obtained, also in comparison to antibiotic growth promoters. As a consequence of ongoing research, phytogenics are regarded as effective performance enhancers, especially in antibioticfree feeding systems.

Optimizing feed conversion ratio is crucial for efficiency in swine production. A trial was recently carried out at Kansas State University, United States, to evaluate the efficacy of phytogenics in comparison to AGPs in post-weaning piglets (Sulabo et al., 2007). 192 piglets (22 days of age) were assigned to four treatment groups: Group 1 was fed a negative control diet without growth-promoters. Groups 2 and 3 received the negative control diet supplemented with phytogenics. Group 4 was offered a positive control diet containing AGPs (140 g/t neomycin sulfate and 140 g/t oxytetracycline HCl). Growth performance was significantly improved over the negative control group when phytogenics or AGPs were added to the feed. In terms of average daily gains, the pigs fed phytogenics were intermediate between the negative control and the AGPs (Figure 1). Feed conversion, however, was best in the groups receiving phytogenics (Figure 2). The phytogenic feed additive under investigation contained a defined blend of essential oils from anise, citrus and oregano, as well as plant extracts.

Introduction The swine production sector is facing several challenges. The removal of antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs), for example, has put additional pressure on European swine producers. Consequently, the implementation of sound hygienic farm conditions and elaborate feeding concepts are cornerstones of sustainability and profitability in modern swine production. The need for optimal feed efficiency, in terms of feed conversion ratios, becomes even more evident in present times of rising prices for feed ingredients. Growing concern about AGPs in animal nutrition has created efforts to use different alternative growth-promoting agents in swine nutrition. Among potential candidates, phytogenics represent a new and exciting group of feed additives, originating principally from herbs, spices or other plants. An improvement in feed conversion ratio has been observed in recent trials conducted at different universities and research institutes in Europe and in the United States.

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It can be concluded from the outcome of this trial that well-selected phytogenics can be successfully used to improve growth performance in post-weaning piglets, especially in antibiotic-free feeding regimens. The results from Kansas State University confirmed positive observations obtained in previous experiments. A trial conducted in Denmark by Danske Slagterier also showed an increase in performance when the feed was supplemented with phytogenics. In this trial, 384 pigs (5 weeks of age) were fed either a negative control diet or the negative control diet with supplemental phytogenics. The feed was pelleted at a minimum temperature of 81 °C. Performance parameters, as recorded from weaning to 50 days post-weaning, are shown in Table 1.

520

1.45 502a 481b

1.40a

477b

480 453c

460

a, b, c P