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Dual-Strain Probiotic Boosts Performance on Energy-Reduced Diets

04 November 2016

New research shows that a dual-strain probiotic feed supplement can help pig producers reduce feed costs, without compromising performance.

The wean-to-finish study, recently published in Animal Feed Science and Technology, evaluated the impact of BioPlus® YC on growth performance and digestibility in pigs fed different dietary energy concentrations. Manufactured by Chr. Hansen, BioPlus® YC is a probiotic feed supplement for swine that contains unique strains of Bacillus subtilis and B. licheniformis.

Overall, the supplement significantly improved growth and feed conversion from wean to slaughter, while boosting total tract digestibility of fat and crude protein in the grower period.

“Feed is the greatest single, variable cost in swine production, with energy being one of the costliest components,” said Jens Joergensen, global product manager and one of the study’s authors.

“In this study, probiotic supplementation was found to improve growth performance and digestibility of key nutrients, with these effects being most pronounced in pigs fed lower-energy diets. By giving pigs access to more nutrients and energy from their feed, BioPlus® YC gives producers the flexibility to maintain performance while reducing dietary energy levels by as much as 3 per cent.”

Study design

The study was conducted in 576 weaned piglets that were randomly allocated to one of four different test groups: two groups were fed a standard diet and two groups were fed an energy-reduced diet, either with or without probiotic supplementation at recommended doses (Table 1).

Growth performance and digestibility of various nutrients were analysed during four periods: pre-starter (28-42 days), starter (42-70 days), grower (70-120 days) and finisher (120-182 days).

Improved performance, digestibility

Results show that probiotic supplementation significantly increased body weight (BW) of pigs at the end of trial. Across all four groups, BioPlus® YC improved average daily gain (ADG) by 3.2 per cent and feed conversion ratio (FCR) by 1.9 per cent over the whole study period.

Overall, pigs fed the standard diets exhibited 2.8 per cent improved FCR compared to pigs fed the energy-reduced diets. No interactions between dietary energy level and probiotic supplementation were observed, so the significant performance improvements observed with BioPlus® YC were independent of dietary nutritional levels.

In the energy-reduced diet groups, probiotic supplementation was associated with higher BW at the end of the study as well as significant improvements in ADG and FCR. Moreover, there were no statistical differences in the final BW, growth and FCR of pigs fed the non-supplemented, standard diet and the energy-reduced diet + BioPlus® YC, indicating that the supplement may compensate for a reduction in dietary energy of up to 3 per cent.

Consistent with previous findings, analyses performed in this study confirmed that probiotic supplementation also improved digestibility of fat and crude protein — typically some of the costliest components in swine feed.

Synergistic strains

According to Joergensen, the unique strains of B. subtilis and B. licheniformis in BioPlus® YC were selected from a library of more than 200 bacillus strains specifically for use in swine. They work synergistically to optimise microbial diversity in the gut and enhance enzyme activity, resulting in improved intestinal function and increased availability and uptake of nutrients.

To learn more about the research-proven benefits of Chr. Hansen’s range of probiotic feed supplements for swine, visit the company’s booth at EuroTier 2016 (Hall 23/Booth 30) or contact your local Chr. Hansen representative. To visit Chr. Hansen’s website or get in touch, click here.

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