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Evaluation of Antibiotics and Benzoic Acid on Growth Performance of Nursery Pigs

6 February 2014, at 12:00am

Feeding an antibiotic to weaned pigs increased growth rate and feed intake but no effects were seen with benzoic acid in the diets, according to a study carried out at Kansas State University and reported to the 2013 Swine Industry Day.

A total of 240 weanling pigs (PIC 327 × 1050, initially 16.1 lb, three days post-weaning) were used in a 28-day trial to evaluate the effects of benzoic acid and antibiotics on growth performance, J.E. Nemechek reported to the conference.

Treatments were arranged as a 2×2 factorial (with or without 0.5 per cent Vevovitall, a source of benzoic acid; DSM Nutritional Products, Parsippany, NJ), and with or without carbadox (Mecadox; Philbro Animal Health Corp., Ridgefield Park, NJ).

The four dietary treatments included:

  1. control without Mecadox or Vevovitall
  2. without Mecadox and with Vevovitall
  3. with Mecadox and without Vevovitall, and
  4. with Mecadox and Vevovitall.

No interactions (P>0.57) were observed between Mecadox and Vevovitall on growth performance.

From days 0 to 14, there were no differences (P>0.12) in average daily gain or average daily feed intake between pigs fed diets with or without Mecadox but pigs fed Mecadox tended to have poorer (P<0.07) feed:gain ratio than pigs fed diets without Mecadox.

From days 14 to 28, pigs fed Mecadox had better (P<0.01) average daily gain, average daily feed intake and feed:gain ratio than those fed diets without Mecadox.

Overall (days 0 to 28), pigs fed Mecadox had increased (P<0.02) average daily gain and average daily feed intake. For the main effect of Vevovitall, there were no differences (P>0.11) in average daily gain, average daily feed intake or feed:gain ratio during either phase or for the overall data.

Nemechek and colleagues concluded that feeding the antibiotic increased average daily gain and average daily feed intake but no improvements in growth were found when benzoic acid was included in the diets in this experiment.


Nemechek, J.E., M.D. Tokach, S.S. Dritz, R.D. Goodband, J.M. DeRouchey and J.R. Bergstrom. 2013. Evaluation of antibiotics and benzoic acid on growth performance of nursery pigs. Proceedings of 2013 Kansas Swine Day, p42-48.

Further Reading

You can view the full paper by clicking here.
Read other papers presented at the 2013 Kansas Swine Day by clicking here.

February 2014

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