After a longer than traditional break due to ‘the pestilence’, Feedworks’ legendary conference returned to the Novotel Sunshine Coast Resort from in September 2022.
The tried and well tested formula for this important and highly regarded industry event is to invite not only key members from the Australian/NZ livestock sectors but also world class speakers from around the globe who are consistently at ‘the top of their game’.
The organisation that goes into this event is tremendous and full credit must go to the Feedworks team in 2022 for running a program that never fails to impress.
The conference commenced with a panel discussion ‘Making waves in animal production’ with Feedworks’ Managing Partner Malcolm Mottram in the chair.
Professor Frank Dunshea, Professor Mingan Choct and Tony Edwards have a prodigious amount of both scientific, nutritional and general livestock industry experience.
“What were the most significant developments in the last 25 years and what can we expect in the next quarter century?” Malcolm asked his distinguished panel.
Of the past, advances mentioned were “feed formulation software, mycotoxin binders, modeling (Auspig Massey), Improvac, transgenisis, fatty acid metabolism and of course feed additives including enzymes, organic acids, emulsifiers, prebiotics, probiotics, essential oils and more recently, phytogenomics,” the panel stated.
“Organic minerals, antioxidents and anti-inflammatories, nucleotides and Clutamine,” all offered opportunities for better animal performance.
Major advancements were identified as pST and bST, Immunocastration, the use of Betaine and enzyme technology, also the emergence of crystalline amino acids.
Future opportunities identified were “precision livestock farming that is already in progress but needs AI and Artificial Neural Networks and better data handling to be properly implemented”.
“Also plant derived polyphenols and bio-actives for health, antioxidants and methane mitigation.
“CRISPR a powerful gene editing tool that will, in initial developments, be used in disease mitigation (e.g. cancer) as this path will be more acceptable to consumers.
“COVID has shown us what can be done with vaccines and maybe enabled more rapid and targeted development,” Prof Dunshea said.
The last speaker, Prof Mingan Choct, is best known as a leader in poultry science research however his comments applied to commercial livestock production in general.
‘Three things that have shaped the animal nutrition/feed industry over the past 25 years and another three things that will change it again in the next 25 years’ was his topic.
“No1 is sustainability, involving real time measurement of substrates to tailor additives and the drive towards precision nutrition.
“Accounting for 70% of production costs, feed will play a major role in sustainability,” he predicted.
“Formulating for sustainable production, not least cost, understanding the function and use of every nutrient and driving for precision nutrition by defining the requirements of individual animals,” he said.
“No2 is data-driven decisions using big data for the whole supply chain and relying more on AI.
“Feed formulation will take into account the whole production chain, not as a standalone unit but as an integrated part of the company and will create more precise databases requiring real time formulation adjustment using AI.
No3 is societal and cultural modifiers such as artificial meat, more stringent welfare codes and climate change and the march to net zero emissions.
“More meat alternatives will emerge and more stringent welfare codes will be introduced. Supply chain issues including wars and climate change will continue.
“However, cost of living pressure will probably stop sudden and drastic changes,” Prof Choct concluded.
In the joint monogastric and ruminant session, Dr Megan Abeyta from Iowa State University gave her keynote presentation ‘Impacts of leaky gut and inflammation on production across species’.
“The human GIT surface area is equivalent to a doubles tennis court and that’s an enormous amount of area to defend so it’s no wonder that 70% of the immune system resides in the GIT,” Megan said.
“Feed restriction, transition periods, heat stress in ruminants, Rumen Acidosis, and psychological stress could all be contributing factors causing leaky gut.
“This triggers metabolic response, immuno-metabolic response and endocrine response leading to a fall in production of meat.
“Heat stress is a known cause of production issues and the gut integrity in pigs,” she said.
“Feed restriction and psychological stress are also critical factors,“ she added.
“Also 12 hours of feed restriction can cause Leaky Gut in pigs resulting in body weight loss of up to 2.3 kg,” she warned.
In an extensive and well researched paper, Megan mentioned the work of Dr Otto Warburg, a world renowned scientist, who first recognised the unique metabolism of cancer cells in 1927.
“Also he observed activated lymphocytes become highly glycolytic (1958).
On the subject of immuno-metabolism, Megan explained aspects of ‘The Warburg Effect’.
“Immune cells become obligate glucose utilisers when activated, according to a 2013 research paper published by Palsonn, McDermott and O’Neill.
“Leucocytes are insulin sensitive,” she said.
“The advantages of ‘The Warburg Effect’ are a rapid production of ATP, synthesis of biomolecules (nucleotides, reducing equivalents etc), adaption to hypotoxic environment and inflammatory signaling.
“Eighty years later we still don’t know how much glucose the immune system needs in vivo, and this is a pre-requisite for developing mitigating strategies.
“Specifically, the problems include the dynamic and ubiquitous distribution of the immune system throughout tissues which may allow for quasi tissue/organ quantification, but complicates whole-body quantification,” Megan explained.
“Can the feed industry do anything about leaky gut?” Megan asked.
“The Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge and blood glucose is critical, but can we quantify this amount of glucose?”
Megan went on to describe the LPS Euglycemic Clamp in pigs as researched by Stokes in a 2015 paper.
“A paper by Kvidera (2017) reveals almost 0.5 kg/day of glucose or 1.1 g/per kg of body weight /hour as a conserved response ( Kvidera 2015),” she said.
“Critically this is a potential loss of 1.4 g of lean tissue in a 24 hour period,” Megan revealed.
“Prevent infection which encourages feed intake by ensuring 100% feed availability, and minimise psychological stress – all the producer’s responsibility.
“Minimise digestion prior to large intestine which is the nutritionist’s and producer’s responsibility.
“Manage intestinal permeability with dietary strategies and immunomodulation, the nutritionists responsibility.
“Immune activation, regardless of origin is energetically and nutrient expensive and compromises production.
“Management of nutrition practices should prioritise the prevention of immune activation,” Megan said.
Dr Thomas Schroder is responsible for developing carbon and biodiversity projects across Australia, NZ and the Pacific region. South Pole is a global leader in climate action.
Though his presentation focused on methane abatement which is a major concern for the ruminant sector, in the future and right now, all commercial livestock producers will have to develop emission management strategies to satisfy consumers, retailers and government.
“While agricultural emissions in Australia contribute about 15% of the total emissions, pig production only accounts for 2% of agriculture emissions,” Dr Schroder said.
Hans Aae, Zinpro Corporation, is Vice President for North America and its International division which includes Oceania.
Feedworks is now a distributor of Zinpro products and Hans Aea spoke next on ‘A category of one – defining mineral nutrition’.
“EU registration gives Zinpro a unique category that includes meeting all requirements for performance trace minerals,” he stated.
After explaining Zinpro’s production methodology and research-based performance in his summary of the company’s cell research, he stated that Zinpro complexes use amino acid transporters and not inorganic metal transporters.
“Zinpro complexes are protected from metal antagonists and dietary chelators, and deliver trace minerals when inorganic metals are inhibited,” he concluded.
Diamond V is one of the foundation product lines for Feedworks. The company’s post biotics animal feed additives are produced from a long-established fermentation process.
Dr Curtis Harms is Diamond V’s Regional Director and a key member of the leadership team with extensive experience across both monogastric and ruminant animal health and nutrition.
Product range is supported by a huge breadth and depth of long-term research.
“Our products support gut microbes, as well as gut tissue integrity. They support mucosal immunity and immune response to bacterial and viral challenges,” he said.
“Other key differentiators in the market are good processing and shelf stability (two years), consistency and the delivery of multi-system effects.
In the short after lunch session, Dr Mark Wilson from Feedworks USA, delivered a concise and though provoking description of ‘The impact of mycotoxins on reproductive physiology.
Feedworks distributes ELITOX Mycotoxin eliminator a product composed of enzymes, biopolymer, a combination of minerals, natural extracts and vitamins,” Dr Wilson explained.
Dr David Cadogan spoke next on the topic of ‘Phosphorus quality and absorbtion across species’.
One of the key recommendations in his presentation was that “Mono-calcium phosphate produces better performance than Dicalcium”.
The final speaker in the joint session was Dr Amir Ghane, Senior Technical Director ASPAC with Danisco Animal Nutrition.
His presentation, ‘Enzyme Technology – what the future of innovation looks like’, focused on sustainable animal production where “various frameworks and high targets add pressure across the industry,” he said.
“The 2030 targets for sustainable production would involve a reduction in pesticide use (-50%), reduction in nutrient levels (-50%) whilst retaining soil fertility (20% less fertiliser) and 50% less use of antimicrobials.
“In the EU there will be a 25% increase in organically farmed land,” he predicted.
The first speaker in the monogastric session on was Dr Kyle Coble from JBS Live Pork USA.
His presentation ‘USA pig industry perspectives – challenges and solutions’, revealed the similarities in problems faced by Australian and US producers and the innovative solutions adopted by Dr Koble’s company to address those difficulties.
“JBS Live Pork is a business unit within the giant global JBS Pork and JBS Foods which is the largest single protein provider and No2 globally in pork production.
“The company operates pork production centres in the USA, Brazil, the UK, and now Australia,” Dr Coble stated.
“JBS Live Pork houses 170,000 sows and markets 3.8 million pigs annually with production facilities in the Midwestern areas of the US from Texas to Indiana and is the 8th largest of the top 15 pork producers in the US as of 2021,” he added.
“A quarterly chart on Hogs and Pig Inventory to June 2022 showed a 7% reduction since Q1 in 2020 – no doubt a side effect of the COVID 19 outbreak as well as other factors.
“Domestic market disease pressure for PRRSV lineage 1C variant strain detections as reported to the SHIC Swine Disease Reporting System as at 9-6-2022 showed a significant decline from a peak at the end of 2021 to more than half that level by August 2022.
“The returns on the hog market shown from January 2002 to August 2022 showed recovery from losses in Jan 2021 to gains of over $US 30 a head in January 2022.
“Feed cost (estimated WTF Feed Cost $/pig) at January 2022 reached US$120, a figure not experienced since January 2012,” Dr Coble revealed.
Dr Coble’s next topic was the chronic labour shortage affecting many sectors in the US economy including the pig industry.
“By the start of 2022 the unemployment rate across the US had dipped below the 4% mark and even down to 2% in the major pork producing states.
“Hog farm employment was at its lowest level since 2012 and wages had peaked at over $US1000 a week by the third quarter of 2021.
“Average hourly wages had increased by 5.5 % across all sectors however wages in meatpacking, up 11%, trucking 7.8%, grocery 7.5% and restaurants a massive 19.1% .
“Walmart in April 2022 was offering US$110,000 per annum just to sign on as a truck operator for the company,” Dr Coble revealed .
“We have moved beyond non-traditional approaches by using more automation in our operational areas such as power washing, truck driving and the use of enhanced housing environment monitors.“Like many other industries we have adopted ‘big data’, analysing employee work hours compared to work outcomes.
“Our ability to designate where labour should be allocated for operational optimization means we can better predict outcomes rather than dealing with them after they occur,” Dr Coble said.
“With problems like African Swine Fever in mind, Dr Coble explained the US Swine Health Improvement Plan (focused on biosecurity , traceability and disease surveillance), which is modeled after a 1930s National Poultry Improvement Plan.
“The Swine based plan encompasses industry, state and federal agencies and is a playbook for technical standards that focus on disease prevention and containment practices.
“It involves areas from trucking to feed safety,” he said.
“Sow mortality is a major concern with a 6.2% increase between 2012 to 2021 and peaking at 13.84% in 2020.
“Farrowing difficulty, feet, leg and structure, general health and respiratory issues are the significant reasons for mortalities.
“On both an industry and academic approach we have to accept that economically the US industry cannot sustain this poor level of female retention.
“Solutions start with gilt management by taking it back to basics and OCD has been observed at high rates in herds.
“We need nutritional therapies to keep our genetics in check, which means slow growing gilts and consideration of effective animal housing vs unscientific welfare considerations.
“There is a need for better understanding on the biological modifiers for bone development and a lack of sow data on Ca, P numbers x retention, also are we relying too much on phytase,” Dr Coble asked.
“Do we need to retro fit our housing and look at controlled feeding practices?
“We have a great history of pork production in the US and our production sustainability keeps improving.
“From 1960 to 2015 we reduced water use by more than 25%, carbon emissions by 7.7%, we used 7% less energy and reduced land use by 76%.
“Our industry has made pledges recently to be carbon neutral and this means that animal production has segments that will be impacted such as grain production and transport.
“Life Cycle Assessments are unknown on most ingredients so does this mean that formulation priorities change?
“A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the systematic analysis of the potential environmental impacts of products or services during their entire life cycle,” Dr Coble explained.
“The next NRC must have both nutrient loadings and LCA values for each ingredient and there needs to be a standardised approach for how to calculate FCA’.
“Graduate students must be a vital part of operations as they are usually the early adopters.
“The last two years has been a turbulent time for the entire world but pork producers and other protein providers are resilient and innovative.
“We tackled our labour problem with a multidisciplinary approach by increasing seasonal and migrant worker access and tapped into unconventional labour forces, partnering with work-release programs.
“Also, by communicating the pros and cons of advanced degrees to an inbound work force and by hiring hourly paid employees with their future growth in mind.
“By creating a culture of purpose and belonging with a high degree of care and support is paying dividends, “Dr Coble stated.
“Our program of internally developing candidates using on-line training developed in-house with Kansas State University.
Dr Amir Ghane, IFF/Danisco, spoke next on the topic of Axtra Phytase Gold and why there is still plenty to capture from dose optimisation.
“Typical commercial doses of phytase are still below the optimal dose for economic benefit.
“There is still inorganic P and excess calcium within the feed to be removed and by combining the optimal phytase dose with other enzymes, can further boost performance,” Dr Ghane stated in concluding his presentation.
Creamino for poultry and pigs
One of the recent additions to the FeedWorks product line up is the GAA (Guanidinoacetic Acid) based Creamino for poultry and pigs manufactured by German based Alzchem.
Dr Vivienne Inhuber, the Technical Sales and Research Manager at Alzchem Trostberg GMBH, delivered her paper ‘Creamino/GAA – recent insights from around the world’.
GAA (Creamino) leads to increased breast meat yield and improved quality and it reduces occurrence of ‘white striping,” Vivienne revealed.
“Extensive research into GAA has been conducted in the EU, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is currently ongoing at the University of Adelaide with a project run by Dr Rebecca Forder.
“This research has the potential to deliver significant productivity gains to the Australian poultry and pig industries.
“Creonine-based commercial products like Creapure manufactured by Alzchem, are well known and used by bodybuilders and in high activity sport where muscle development is essential.
“Also the product can be beneficial to patients suffering from degenerative muscle conditions like MS,” Vivienne stated.
“In pig production GAA, or Creamino in its commercial livestock application, can deliver extra energy for a piglet’s start in life.
“A trial conducted by Schuh et al 2022, involving 98 highly prolific sows used three experimental phases, insemination, gestation and lactation with typical German feed diets.
“T1 control and T2 control +0.1% GAA; parameters being sow and piglet’s performance, milk composition and quality (BRIX) IUGR scoring.
“The results showed more piglets born alive (18.6 GAA to 17.4 control) and an increased litter weight in the lactation period (d21) at 77.7kg GAA to 74.8 kg control,” Vivienne revealed.
“A customer trial was conducted in Scandinavia with the aim of demonstrating how performance can be improved by using a Creamino ‘on top’ strategy.
“Lean meat as a % of carcass weight improved from 57.5% for control pigs to 58.28% for the Creamino ‘on top’ animals.
“FCR was significantly improved (FU/Kg gain), 2.75 control to 2.53 Creamino treated, as this was achieved in high performing animals,” Vivienne stated.
However, one of the most significant benefits of the Creamino On Top initiative was the reduced time in raising the pigs to market weight.
“With both control and Creamino animals in the trial starting at 35kg and a weight at last day of 119.33 (control) and 118.67 (Creamino), the Creamino fed herd reached market weight in 74.11 days, whereas the control group took 77.44 days.
“The saving of 3.33 days when applied to feed cost per pig, averaged out at E73.76 (control) to E70.90 (Creamino); profit per pig E14.90 and E18.60 (Creamino).
“Trials conduct by Lealiifano et al in 2021 at Rivalea, with the aim of establishing the main effect of dietary Creamino level on pig growth performance in growing/finisher pigs (27-97kg), showed improved feed:gain.
“Improved meat quality and in particular a reduction in pH (45-90min) also less drip loss was another feature of the Rivalea research project,” Vivienne stated.
Benefits of copper in pig health
The next topic for Dr Dave Cadogan was ‘Why high levels of copper maximises pig and poultry growth and health’.
“Actual copper requirements for pigs and poultry is between 5 to15 ppm and there are a number of papers and reviews showing 75-250ppm of inorganic copper promoting growth and feed efficiency in pigs and broilers.
“The mode of action includes growth hormone, liapase activity while promoting a drop in GI tract bacterial population,” Dave.
“The majority of response is copper’s bacteriostatic and bactericidal effects as copper alters the structure of bacterial proteins and disrupts bacterial enzymes as well as the function of bacteria.
“High levels of Cu had no effect on ‘germ free’ pigs but had highly significant growth effects on pigs with normal bacterial levels,” Dave said.
Work published in Journal of Animal Science (vol 68, issue 4 April 1990 p1061-1071 Shurson et al April 1990) was the source of these effects on pig nutrition.
“Fat digestion is limited by the presence of Bile Salt Hydrolase (BSH) and some bacteria (eg Lactobacillus) produce high levels of BSH and this enzyme reduces fat digestibility.
“Copper reduces BSH activity thus improving fat digestibility as demonstrated by Wang et al 2012.
“The relationship of ‘add fat’ and ‘gain to feed’ in pigs was revealed by Espinosa et al 2021. Also, the fat equivalency of copper was established in the same research findings.
“Copper sulphate is a low cost raw material and is used in many markets as a growth promoter and fungistatic agent however, it is unstable, highly hygroscopic also highly soluble,” Dave said.
“As an effective alternative, CoRouge is the only monovalent copper source readily available in animal nutrition.
“The product has a high concentration level (75%) and displays good flowability, stability, bioavailability, is manufactured to high safety standards but above all delivers good animal performance.
“In research conducted by Saphier et al 2018 was a comparison of monovalent Cu+ and divalent Cu2+ on survival of E.coli and S.aureus
“Cu+ (CoRouge) shows a stronger antibacterial effect than Cu2+.
“CoRouge accumulates less in the liver than Cu2+ and at high dosage Cu from CoRouge minimises the risk of hepatic oxidative stress,” Dave said quoting research findings from Hamdi et al 2018.
“A research project was conducted at Rivalea by Brewster et al 2021 in a trial on 624 pigs 16 (60kg) weeks to 22 weeks (100kg).
“The parameters of the trial were to establish feed intake (per pen), individual growth and carcass details, excretion (I healthy pig/pen).
“Four sources of copper were used, A-20 ppmcu, B-CuSo4 @200ppm, C-Chelated Cu100ppm and (D)CoRouge @100ppm. The final weight after 36 days showed a 2.6kg improvement in body weight for the CoRouge dosed anaimals,” Dave reported.
“Growth rate and FCR over the same period: ADG 0.9 (A 0.95 (B),0.95(C),0.99 (D)
“FCR (A) 2.61, (B) 2.59, (C)2.62, 2.54 (D); carcass and loin depth.
“Copper excretion by analysed fecal Cu was significantly lower for CoRouge treated animals, the trial demonstrated.
“When added to diets at a growth promoting level (160 ppm), copper level found in piglet liver in research trials (Bikker TEMA 2017) was less than 40% in CoRouge when compared to CuS04.
In concluding recommendations for growing pigs and lactating sows “pig dose rate 100ppm copper from 133ppm CoRouge in total, benefits of 2 to 3 kg in live weight and carcass weight was a demonstrated projection,” Dave said.
“Also expect a 2% improvement in FCR, reduced pathogen load shedding, increased bone density and an improved antioxidant nature and a reduction in copper load in effluent.
“Finally given current costs of CoRouge, it is reasonable to claim a ROI of between 5-6,” Dave concluded.
Tail docking and other welfare issues
Professor John Pluske, Chief Scientist and CEO of APRIL, spoke about their highlight research projects including work on AMR, tail docking and other welfare issues.
“The two transformational projects identified in their strategic plan for 2019-22 were ‘Enhanced antimicrobial stewardship in the Australian Pork industry through targeted reduction of medications without adverse health consequences’ and ‘Elimination of tail docking in Australasian pork production to improve welfare and industry sustainability.
“Research involved managing by docking pigs’ tails soon after birth, thus preventing tail biting in later life.
“This initiative will have welfare and economic consequences for the pork industry.
“There are numerous factors, often interacting, that contribute to tail biting such as nutritional, environmental or behavioral changes.
“This is a three-year project examining underlying causes under Australian conditions of why pigs bite tails.
“The aim of the project is to give producers confidence to raise pigs with intact tails while maintaining high standards of pig welfare.”
Participants in the funding of APRIL research are APRIL itself, Sunpork, Rivalea, APL, agbu, UNE, RSPCA, PIC, The University of Queensland and Melbourne University.
The final presentation in the Monogastric session was ‘Equipment dashboards – farming data for productivity –what’s possible’.
This presentation was jointly delivered by Stuart Wilkinson, Doug Pearson and David Cadogan. Critical equipment described was a feed flow device measuring daily feed intake, the Feed Flo Dashbord and the Nedap Velos electronic sow feeding system.
While the ESF for sow stall free large scale shedding are a well established product line supplied by Feedworks, a novel new system for outdoor/pasture growing farms for a variety of species including pigs is now included in their equipment line up.
“TEWE Elecktronic is a robust German engineered feed delivery system using advanced software and is designed to feed dry or liquid feed blending feed at a rate of up to 10 tonne per day,” Doug explained.
Perstorp – new distributorship for Feedworks
Feedworks has acquired a distributorship in Australia and New Zealand for Perstorp, a leading manufacturer of animal health and livestock related products established in Sweden in 1881. Feedworks will distribute its ProPhorce SR product into the Australian and NZ pig industry sector.
ProPhorceSR by Pertorp AB is the latest generation in butyric acid products.
“The ester technology protects butyric acid without the need for coating.
“When digested these butyrin’s are hydrolysed after the stomach in the small intestine thus releasing butyric acid where it is most effective.
“The outcomes from using ProPhorceSR are:
• Improved feed conversion ratio
• Improved growth rates
• Lower cost of production
• Ability to replace antibiotic growth promotants or use in combination.
• Improved gut health
“ProPhorce SR has no odour issues, is palatable and safe to handle.
“Liquid ProPhorce is also available in an oil soluble version for administration in drinking water,” the company states.
“Butyric acid has been demonstrated to exert multiple roles to gut health and support animal welfare.
“Finding ways to prevent its absorption before reaching the intestine and control its unpleasant smell has been a challenge for decades.
“ProPhorce SR is the next generation of butyric acid products. It consists of butyrins – glycerol esters of butyric acid, which are not coated, but in ester form. “You get the same well documented effects as with coated butyric acid products but with more ‘horse power’ thanks to the esterifying technology. That means a lower dosage for the same results.
The benefits of butyric acid are well known and include:
• improved digestibility of nutrients
• enhanced animal performance
• optimization of intestinal microbiota
• improvement of the epithelial integrity and defense systems
In 2011 after numerous shifts in production and products Perstorp introduced products to preserve livestock feed and to promote better health in animal nutrition.
In 2022 Perstorp was acquired by Petronas Chemicals Group, Malaysia’s leading integrated chemicals provider. It now has eight production centres and supplies livestock producers worldwide.
Feedworks is now the distributor for Arbocel, a natural crude fibre concentrate for piglets.
The company says that with Arbocel, it has been possible for the first time to combine high energy formulations with ideal nutrient digestibility and high crude fibre levels.
“Arbocel increases efficiency,” the company says, “and results in longer intestinal villi, better intestinal health, better nutrient digestibility, optimized feed conversion, higher daily weight gain, it prevents diarrhoea and provides higher profitability in piglet nutrition”.
Application is via feed in prestarter and starter formulations.
It is recommended that piglets should be fed via prestarter with Arbocel, starting at the eighth day of life.
Arvocel is pelleting stable and is added to prestarters in a doage of 2%. The subsequent rearing feed should contain at least 1% of Arbocel.