Industry discussions on effectively replacing livestock antibiotics are never ending as new feed additives keep appearing in the animal agribusiness market. Now that high animal feed prices are making it difficult to profitably raise pigs and poultry, many farmers are looking for ways to remove additives that do not have a strong performance record.
The benefits and challenges of feeding pigs dried distiller's grains with solubles, DDGS, are well known: Attractive pricing versus the general issues with maize (nutrient variability, mycotoxins, soft carcass fat, unbalanced protein). Yet, with careful planning and smart diet formulation, it is possible to use high levels of DDGS in diets for all classes of pigs. In some cases, up to 40 percent has been added to pig diets.
Yes, zinc oxide will improve growth performance and reduce diarrhea in piglets (when fed at pharmacological levels), but it remains unclear whether this is an effect of reduced total bacterial load, stabilized gut microflora, enhanced intestinal integrity and immunity, or improved enzymatic secretion and activity; to name but a few of the proposed modes of action!