Gary Allee Symposium Recap
By: Dr. Emily Taylor
Dr. Nick Gabler – Impact of weaning stress disease, and diet on pig performance, intestinal function and integrity.
Dr. Gabler began his presentation discussing the difference between optimal and normal development of the gastrointestinal tract and its function. He emphasized the need to close the gap between optimal and normal, however, stress and disease during the weaning period makes this difficult. Dr. Gabler proposed that the adaptation of the 2017 Veterinary Feed Directive and the European Union ban of zinc oxide by 2022 has, and will continue, to increase the need to address alternatives to reduce stress and disease during this period.
His presentation highlighted PRRSV and how feed intake explains the disease phenotype. Feed intake data was presented and suggests that pigs with PRRSV had a 51% reduction in intake, which resulted in a 58% reduction of ADG over a 35 day period. Reduced jejunum villus height and integrity was seen. In addition, 148 kcal/d ME difference in energy was found due to the PRRS virus – and could be 3x higher during peak infection. This equates to an increase in the maintenance requirements of ME (150 kcal ME/d).
Dr. Gabler discussed previous research, including B12/Sodium Salicylate injections and the Lys:ME ratio, that had been conducted to address these issues. Data suggests that injections of B12/Sodium Salicylate improved the survivability of pigs, although, did not impact feed intake and growth performance. Increasing the Lys:ME 120% did improve performance and suggests that this ratio may be more important than the protein source.
Overall, he suggests that we need to decide what our goals are as an industry – survivability or increased growth performance. His suggestions included targeting diet and appetite to maintain pig performance.
Dr. Mike Ellis – Observations on Pre-Weaning Piglet Mortality.
Dr. Ellis began discussing the increases in litter size (live + Stillborn), increases in pre-weaning mortality in the United States and Canada (12 vs. 15%) since 2004, as well as, total loss (Stillborn + pre-weaning mortality) increases around the world. He suggests there is a negative correlation between litter size and birth weight, which is why we see these increases. Lighter piglets in the litter are more likely to be impacted. Throughout the presentation, Dr. Ellis discussed reducing the loss, however, targeting the lighter piglets in the litter will impact the heaver piglets, and not for the better.
The research he presented discussed moving away from the selection of numbers to survivability around day 5. Early care is critical in reducing pre-weaning mortality. Specifically addressing the major pre-disposing factors of low birth weight and low body temperature is essential. He discussed how drying + warming drastically reduced the temperature decline, and also had a higher impact on the lower birth weight piglets. However, there seemed to be no effect on pre-weaning mortality.
Overall, the number of piglets born is exceeding sow rearing capacity. Therefore, there is an increased need to address new strategies for reducing pre-weaning mortality (cross-fostering or supplementary feeding programs). In addition, to improve pre-weaning mortality – people are key. Improving selection/aptitude, training and support resources/technologies will continue to be essential.
Dr. Buddy Hinson – Feed, feeding levels, and tissue analytics of Vitamins: Observations from the field.
Dr. Hinson began his discussion on vitamin fortification levels in the literature. He pointed out that the majority of recent research has been qualitative and lacking the needed data for changes in requirements due to different rearing conditions, as well as, production efficiencies. Animal growth rates and reproductive traits have increased substantially during the last 50 years.
Analyses of vitamins are usually done when looking at overall feed quality, as well as when production problems (sudden deaths, broken bones, downer animals etc…) occur. However, large variations have been found in vitamin analytics and include variation due to concentration within the product, lab-to-lab variation and within lab variation. Below reference level analysis is consistently being observed for both sick and animals in perfect health.
Dr. Hinson discussed five trials used to determine the impact of vitamin supplementation on performance and serum/tissue vitamin status of sows, nursery, and grow-finish swine. He pointed out that while these trials will not definitively determine the various vitamin requirements – conversations in order to help establish new reference values that are applicable to today’s genetics, vitamin supplementation levels and rearing environments, will hopefully occur.
Dr. Kyle Coble – Building a production nutrition department in an integrated production company: critical pillars for our success.
Dr. Coble gave a presentation on his perspective of internalizing a nutrition department using critical pillars for success. He discussed that overall, nutritional information and ability to formulate diets is an important function, however, the development of trust within the entire production team seems to impact one’s success more directly than being able to formulate that perfect diet.
As a production nutritionist, responsibilities consist of 20% formulation and 80% execution. There are many moving parts and people that have to work in harmony to execute the final product. Over-management in a way that is counterproductive is often seen. This is where the trust and respect of your production team can lead to the successful implementation of a perfect diet. Gaining their trust and respect is the key to success.
Dr. Coble explains that this success will not come easily and cannot be obtained by sitting behind a desk. It is important to get out in the field and let people know you are accountable. Being humble, disciplined and selective are all pillars to success that Dr. Coble has found and uses every day.