A few days ago, I attended Biomin’s ABReduction Days in Lima, Peru, where several sessions were presented on the rational use of antibiotics in poultry, resistance, challenges, biosecurity and intestinal health.

With the reduction of antibiotic growth promoters (AGP), disease occurrences increase, animal performance is reduced, economic losses occur as production costs increase, and animal welfare decreases. That is why it has been easy to get used to using AGPs.

In the presentation by Biomin Austria’s Plinio Barbarino on the challenges facing poultry production without AGPs, he said that necrotic enteritis causes losses to the poultry industry in the order of US$5-6 billion worldwide. That’s not a negligible figure! From all that he presented, I was struck by the data he showed from a simulation done in a company that processes 150,000 chickens daily.

As a starting point, he said that it costs to this company EUR0.60 to produce a kilo of chicken, from which feed cost is EUR0.40/kg, with a feed conversion rate of 1.75 and 5% mortality. To make the simulation, he considered that only 40% of the flock was affected with necrotic enteritis and the remaining 60% was not affected.

Mortality increases with subclinical necrotic enteritis, but even more so if it is clinical. The same happens with feed conversion and the cost per kilo. In the example, he showed that feed conversion rate rose to 1.78, mortality to 6.8%, production cost to EUR0.62/kg, but the most surprising thing is that 2,000 metric tons of chicken are stopped from being produced and sold, in addition to culls. How much do those 2,000 metric tons of chicken cost?

So, if we are going to produce without these AGPs, you have to have clean and disinfected facilities, a good quality feed, clean water, proper temperature management, good air quality, lighting and good litter material quality, but above all, a well-prepared gastrointestinal tract. One of the keys is precisely the latter.

What do you think?