Adisseo's sixth Swine Conference, held recently in Paris, drew nearly 60 attendees from Europe and South America, representing 11 countries. Several issues were discussed, ranging from quality of grains, reduction of antibiotics in swine production, interest in enzyme use, and the role of methionine supply to improve the quality of pork products.

Alexandre Boy, grain analyst from Agritel, focused on grains in feed. In Europe, wheat and barley represent a large part in the feed, around 70%. However, in other parts of the world, corn is the main component and less than 20% is wheat and barley. He emphasized that the 2016 European wheat crop has been disastrous in both quality and quantity. In France, there was a drop in production by 40% and particularly low specific weights (average of 73 kg/hl compared to 77 kg/hl during the 5 last years). On the other hand, protein content of this harvest is significantly higher than in past years (12.6% vs. 11.0%). As a consequence, the feed industry had to adapt its strategy, especially regarding feed formulation.

The benefit of NSP enzymes in pig feed

Pierre Cozannet, Adisseo’s Enzymes Research Manager and swine specialist, reviewed the factors affecting digestibility of raw materials: technological parameters–pelleting…- physiological aspects –animal age and weight-, and additives in the feed, particularly enzymes. He explained that fiber (ADF) is responsible for a large portion of the feed indigestible fraction and enzymes are key to extract more value from raw materials. He focused on arabinoxylan, the major NSP in cereal, and explained that a single xylanase cannot degrade efficiently such complex substrates. He presented several trials, demonstrating that a multi NSP degrading enzyme complex, Rovabio, significantly improves digestibility of dry matter, organic matter, and apparent metabolizable energy for piglets, fattening pigs, and sows, with various kinds of diets. Trials confirm that, with the optimal dose of 50 g/t in reformulated feed, the enzyme solution increases body weight gain of growing pigs from 4.2% to 5.0% and decreases feed conversion rate by more than 3%. Other trials also confirm the positive impact of Rovabio on sows, with interesting effects on the reduction of body weight losses during lactation. Effect averaged 3 kg with highest effect observed on parities 1.7 kg. In addition, litter weight gain for all parities was increased by + 3.1 kg/litter.


Fewer antibiotics

Anne Hemonic, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, IFIP (French pig institute) gave insight on the reduction of antibiotic use in swine production in Europe and particularly in France. She first pointed out that, a slight decrease in the total sale of antibiotics in the EU on all species between 2011 and 2014 was observed, but with disparities between countries. In France, the reduction of antibiotics in food-producing animals has been significant during the past 10 years. This is particularly true in pig production: between 2004 and 2014, the medication costs have decreased by 40 to 42% for antibiotic and anti-inflammatory injections and orally administrated drugs. In the meantime, vaccine costs increased from 11%, as the goal of disease prevention increases.

Methionine supply and advantages in ham processing

In the final presentation concerning pork quality, Florence Gondret, INRA Senior Scientist, Team Physiology and Metabolisms of Growth, presented the results of a recent trial which demonstrates the interest of a "flash excess in dietary methionine supply" to improve pork quality traits. This trial demonstrates that feeding 3 to 5 times the growth requirements of total sulphur amino acids (in the DL-HMTBA form) during the 2 weeks before slaughtering increases the meat quality index (IQV). This index is a criteria combining water holding capacity, post-mortem pH decline (pHu24h) and drip loss during storage. In addition, muscle antioxidant capacity were also improved. No negative effects were observed on pig performance and carcass yields. "These results confirm methionine as an innovative way to improve technological pork quality, especially the ability of muscle to be processed in ham.”

Focus on Spain

Prior to the different presentations of the day dedicated to pork quality, Estelle Antoine, IFIP  Economy Department Studies Engineer, gave an outlook on Spanish swine production. She first reminded the audience that Spain has become number one in pig production in the EU, ahead of Germany, with 2.5 million sows, and number three in export, with an increase of 75% in exported pig meat between 2000 and 2015. The production is mainly realized under contracts with specialized sites (farrowing/ fattening units), continuous improved technical performances, compensating higher feed prices compared to other UE countries, like France. She focused on downstream industry competitiveness, with huge investments in slaughter and cutting plants, creating values with high quality dry salted products and strengthening links in the pig chain. She states that Spanish production growth is still possible in lower animal density areas than Catalonia (in units of more than 3,000 sows) with a continuous concentration in the downstream industries. Spain exports more and more in the EU and third world countries and explores new markets in Asia and South America.