Project Horizon Helps Producers Transition to Antibiotic Free Production

ANALYSIS - Novus International launches Project Horizon, a commitment to helping producers navigate through the transition to antibiotic-free production.
calendar icon 3 August 2016
clock icon 4 minute read

Jared Hux, senior marketing manager with Novus International, speaks with The Pig Site's Sarah Mikesell about Novus' new initiative - Project Horizon at the 2016 World Pork Expo.

Project Horizon is a program to help customers in their transition from conventional to antibiotic-free meat production, said Jared Hux, senior manager, North America Marketing with Novus International.

"Our objective with Project Horizon is to be the expert in managing health through nutrition, addressing heightened health and performance concerns due to the reduction or complete removal of antibiotics," said Mr Hux.

"We want to reduce the need to use antibiotics by overcoming expected production challenges nutritionally and reducing the likelihood there will be a problem from the start."

Challenges of Transitioning to Antibiotic-free

Making the decision to transition to antibiotic free production comes with many challenges.

Some of the biggest challenges livestock face when antibiotics are removed come through enteric disorders such as necrotic enteritis in poultry and E. coli in nursery piglets. These disorders lead to performance losses, condemnations, mortality and various other concerns for producers that cannot be ignored.

With the most recent research in gut health biomarkers and modelling, industry leading services, and some of the foremost experts in the world on gut health, Novus is well-positioned to provide a solutions-based approach to customers.

"Naturally, gut health challenges rise to the surface, especially in the nursery phase," said Mr Hux. "It's so important for those pigs, and in the chicken world for those chicks, to start healthy. We anticipate that there will be potential mini-challenges in terms of mortality and performance, especially in those early phases of the nursery."

The same is true for the sow.

"What you feed to the mom is just as important as what is fed to the baby. You really want to make sure that the diet for the sows is as optimised as possible, so when she passes that through to her piglets, that they're in the best shape to get started," he said.

Another challenge is feed quality and reducing the instance of any contaminants.

"Try to reduce the instance of any antagonists that may exist in the feed due to low quality ingredients," Mr Hux noted. "It's best to have high quality feed ingredients to go into those diets, so they have the best opportunity for nutrition and uptake."

Process of Transitioning to Antibiotic Free

Transitioning to antibiotic-free production doesn't usually happen overnight.

"It's a big decision, and when that decision is made, it takes a long time to adapt to a new strategy in terms of nutrition and management," Mr Hux said. "It takes time to find the right balance of health, vaccines, feed ingredients and management practices to either change or adapt to new technologies."

The transition can be a difficult road. However, the objective of starting to reduce antibiotics is a starting point for many producers.

"We've got the experience on the nutrition side that can help as producers look to reduce the need for antibiotics," he concluded.

"There's no single replacement, but we certainly recognize the importance of maintaining the health of the animal through different types of feed additives, instead of antibiotics, that maintain performance."

Sarah Mikesell


Sarah Mikesell grew up on a five-generation family farming operation in Ohio, USA, where her family still farms. She feels extraordinarily lucky to get to do what she loves - write about livestock and crop agriculture. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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