Sows kept in outdoor conditions have a more robust immunity than those kept indoors and treated with antibiotics.
This was one of the main take-home messages of Prof Denise Kelly, Institute of Medical Sciences, Aberdeen, UK at this year’s edition of the Pig Solutions Seminar Series, held by animal nutrition company Alltech, in Hanover.
Kelly introduced various factors that may influence the gut microflora of a young pig – diet, the sow, environment and antibiotic usage. Suggesting that antibiotic usage may also kill ‘the good guys’ in the swine gastro-intestinal tract, she set out comparing the gut microbiota of outdoor and indoor kept pigs.
In a trial with outdoor pigs, without the use of antibiotics, she found that the gut microflora consisted of a majority of Lactobacilli; whereas indoor pigs, which did receive antibiotics, completely different bacteria populations prevailed. She concluded: “Outdoor farms maintain control of microbiota and are more immunotolerant.”
Future of swine production
Among the other speakers, Prof Mike Brumm, Brumm Swine Consultancy, had an interesting presentation, casting a look into the future of swine production. Noteworthy was that he – being an American – saw a future for boar finishing.
He also called Argentina ‘the sleeping giant’, having a climate that is great for soybean and corn cultivation, as well as a good infrastructure – but so far a relatively underdeveloped swine industry. The government is working on plans for improvement, he says.
Dr Hans Stein, University of Illinois, USA, zoomed in on recent developments in measuring digestibility of phosphorus, and whether or not phytase can increase calcium digestibility (yes – it seems) and phosphorus (not observed).
He also called for matrix values for phytase to be added to each feed ingredient.
Other speakers included Nigel Penlington (British Pig Executive), talking about lifecycle analysis for swine production and Dr Kate Jacques, Alltech, who highlighted some elements from the company’s nutrigenomics programme – and how foetal piglet development may be impacted by maternal nutrition.
Alltech’s Pig Solutions Seminar was held in Laatzen, close to the EuroTier showgrounds. The show will kick off on Tuesday, and last until Friday, November 16. The show is expected to attract 160,000 visitors from around the globe.