Working Together to Achieve Optimal Nursery Pig Health without High Levels of Zinc Oxide
Written by Dr. Wes Schweer and Dr. Christof Rapp
On June 26, 2022, the zinc oxide ban went into effect across the European Union. While industry experts recognize there is no one-size-fits all solution, we are optimistic it is possible to raise healthy nursery pigs without supranutritional levels of zinc oxide. Leading up to this anticipated challenge, the pork industry came together to determine alternative solutions and Zinpro® is ready to play a part in the collaboration and conversation surrounding zinc oxide.
Learning to Apply the Knowledge
As producers in the EU begin to phase out the use of zinc oxide, new challenges are presenting themselves. Industry stakeholders are trying to keep nursery pig immunity and survivability high while adjusting systems and exploring other approaches. We know that it is important to engage in these conversations and the Zinpro swine team recently attended the 2022 Zero Zinc Summit in Denmark. Facing the impending changes, industry leaders gathered at this event to analyze the issue and explore potential solutions. Heading into this event, we were excited to learn about and evaluate ideas brought to the table. Nutrition is a critical component for nursery pig health, and we were eager to explore how other disciplines and technologies support nutrition in innovative ways. There were several key insights that we heard during discussion and presentations, and will be exploring more with our teammates and customers while helping navigate this challenge.
First, nutrition will play a critical role as we look to grow robust nursery pigs in order to meet performance goals. At the conference we discussed promising avenues for nursery pig health in the absence of zinc oxide, including:
- Limiting protein intake to reduce hind-gut fermentation
- Limiting protein intake to reduce post-weaning diarrhea
- Microbial modulation
- Alternative ingredients and additives
- Organic minerals
- Gut integrity
Secondly, it is clear that we will need to continue implementing and testing different management strategies to learn how we can protect nursery pig health. Increasing weaning age, having a heightened biosecurity protocol and prioritizing employing skilled barn management are all key metrics to monitor and measure to determine an operation’s success in the absence of zinc oxide.
Lastly, but certainly not least, we asked ourselves, how do we wean nursery pigs without zinc oxide? Unfortunately, we didn’t leave the event with one clear solution. But the fruitful discussion at Zero Zinc Summit made one thing clear: we have the knowledge and tools to make this work – the obstacle is how we execute our solutions.
Better Collaboration for Continuous Improvement and Naturally Robust and Healthy Nursery Pigs
Leaving the summit, we’re excited for the teamwork and discovery ahead. It is important that we keep testing and learning different management strategies and different applications of nutrition and veterinary solutions – what we learn together now will have a global influence on future best practices. Successful execution of a zero zinc oxide strategy is only possible with dedicated partnership.
We see the benefit in teamwork and know it will take a concentrated effort between everyone in the industry to evolve.
- Nutritionists can work to provide optimal diets with unrivaled mineral absorption that fuels nursery pigs for a lifetime of robustness and performance.
- Production Managers can offer observational insights and work across channels to implement recommended strategies.
- Veterinarians can identify and implement needed biosecurity protocols and prevention and treatment plans to keep nursery pigs as healthy as possible.
You can be confident in your partnership with Zinpro. We’re here to support your operation and facilitate innovative conversations and inspire creative thinking as we navigate this industry challenge and future.
Working together, we can improve nursery pig health and robustness. Our experts work with you to apply knowledge and adjust management practices, diets, and biosecurity protocols to keep raising the highest quality pigs.
Zinpro is Your Trusted Partner
Adjusting to change seems daunting at first, but the Zero Zinc Summit concluded on a hopeful note as we and our colleagues looked to the future. With teamwork and trust, we’ll succeed.
Partner with Zinpro for innovative thinking and holistic solutions to optimize pig productivity. Connect with our swine experts today to learn how they can support you and facilitate critical and inspiring conversations as you work towards continuous improvement.