A new world of livestock production is rapidly taking shape and one of the biggest changes impacting farmers is the shift toward reduced use of antibiotics.
Are producers ready for a “post-antibiotics” world? What options can help swine operations make the transition while upholding optimum performance and results?
One of the greatest areas of scientific advancement that is helping provide answers to these questions is the arena of feed technology. Much of the leading-edge work is being done right here at research institutions in Western Canada.
Options such as advanced nutrition strategies and innovative feed additives are offering new and more powerful ways to improve efficiency, productivity, performance, welfare and other keys to success.
They benefit the animals. They benefit the bottom line. They also result in higher quality products for consumers that are increasingly demanded by the marketplace.
But to fully capture the advantages of these options another change is needed first – a change in mindset, says a leading researcher in this area, Dr. Anna Rogiewicz of the University of Manitoba.
“It’s human nature that we get used to doing things the same way,” she says. “But the same way doesn’t mean the best way. We can look at the new pressures around antibiotics use as a challenge or an opportunity – I think the opportunity viewpoint is much better. It gets us to take a fresh look at the newer options available and update to improved approaches.”
That doesn’t mean replacing antibiotics, but rather making improvements so that the reliance on them or need for them becomes a lot less, says Rogiewicz.
“We are in an era of modern agriculture where we have many advantages,” says Rogiewicz. “Through genetics we have better animals. We have a much better understanding of nutrition. We know a lot more about best animal welfare practices. And feed technology is an area where through science we know have more options to get more benefits out of feed.
“This is just to name a few of the main areas of advancement. But the point is if we put together all the advantages we have today, we have to ask ‘Do we really need antibiotics?’ We probably do not except when there is a clear health situation.”