The Alltech Feeding Times Issue 36 - Winter 2021 Winter 2021 - Page 20

care of our natural resources and creating a product that is not only nutritious but that is a sustainable part of a healthy diet .
Well , as a matter of fact , I know that you did do your homework . Prior to the panel discussion , you asked federal ranchers , through your blog , what they would tell the U . N . about beef production . Could you share some of the more useful feedback that you got from that ?
Absolutely . I definitely wanted to crowdsource on this as I prepared for the presentation , because producers know best . And really , what I wanted to highlight — and what seemed to be a common theme from the responses — was ( that ) ranchers uniquely match , you know , their production practices to their environmental landscape that they ’ re working with .
And so , for example , what I can grow here in South Dakota might be different than ( what ) someone could grow in , you know , California or Africa or somewhere else entirely . And that ’ s really the beauty of beef cattle , is that they fit into this mix , when we ’ re talking about environmental management and production practices , because they can utilize land that would otherwise , you know , sit barren and go to waste .
The pre-summit event featured a lot of talk around things like greenhouse gas emissions , ( which are ) certainly top of mind these days , with the latest U . N . report telling us that the situation may be more pronounced and may be even more dire than we thought . But you chose to focus on real-world ranching applications that folks should know about . And from your perspective , is there a disconnect between what producers know and what the rest of the world perceives about beef production ?
Yes . ( For ) the producers , it ’ s rather frustrating to see the beef cow take the brunt of the discussion on climate change , because the fact of the matter is is that , you know , here in the United States , the U . S . beef industry contributes 3.4 % of total greenhouse gas emissions , according to the EPA . And Frank Mitloehner , who we know very well as an expert in greenhouse gas emissions from UC Davis , he has said if every American were to go meatless on Mondays , as suggested , to help save the planet , it would only reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 0.26 %.
And so , the reality is that we can ’ t eat our way out of climate change , and simply giving up a burger isn ’ t going to move the needle in any significant direction . And just on the food side of things , one thing I ’ d like to tell people is , if they truly want to make a dietary change to help the planet , we need to be focusing on food waste
WINTER ISSUE – DECEMBER 2021 and respecting our harvest , because 40 % of what we grow in the United States ends up in landfills .
And so , if we can respect the harvest , reduce waste and focus on waste ( so ) that we can redistribute some of this abundance and get it to people who need it the most , that ’ s truly what I would like to focus on — outside of , you know , what I ’ m doing on the ranch and raising beef cattle .
You mentioned diet . How is our world diet changing with respect to protein ?
You know , I see this huge push for us to go to , you know , plant-based proteins or eating cricket protein powder or cicadas and other , maybe , things that we ’ re not used to having on our plates here in the United States . But yet , the global consumer is saying , “ We want something else ,” and what they want is more animal protein .
So , global meat consumption is expected to increase 1 % in 2021 , which is really exciting stuff , because producers , I think , are up to the challenge and the task of feeding a hungry planet . And as the middle class is growing around the world and people have more disposable income to spend on food , the first thing that they ’ re wanting to do is update their — their bean-and-rice diet and add some meat to their plates .
And so , again , I think we are up for the challenge . We can produce more beef today using pure and natural resources than ever before , and so , it ’ s an exciting time . And I think , as long as we can curtail some of the regulatory burdens and media campaigns that seek to paint meat in a bad light , the sky is the limit for livestock producers in what they ’ re going to be able to achieve in the coming years .
In a synopsis of the panel discussion , Alltech suggested that calls for reductions in animal agriculture could actually create a protein deficit that , due to the limitations of available arable land and water , can ’ t be overcome by growing crops . Are the implications of this trend not fully understood or recognized by consumers , do you think ?
Absolutely . You know , looking at my pastures here in South Dakota , they are steep and they ’ re hilly , and we get dry , and we absolutely could not plow up these lands and grow anything else . But what we can do is put ruminant animals like beef cattle on the ranch , and they can graze the grass , and when they do that , they ’ re doing a lot of important things . They are aerating the soil with their hooves . They are naturally fertilizing it with their manure . They are protecting the landscapes , which keeps a cover on it with those native grasses that have grown here for a hundred-plus years . And those grasses have roots
But the modulatory activity of zinc oxide on the commensal microbiota, it’s thought, resembled the activity of growth-promoting antibiotics — so, suppressing the Gram-positive species without actually directly affecting the Gram-negative strains, bringing that effect to lower the bacterial activity, the ATP or the energy concentration in the guts of piglets, which makes more energy available to the host at the cost of losing some beneficial bacteria. So, although you might be losing some beneficial bacteria, we do ultimately see the improvements in performance in the pig. So, even though you are getting that suppression, the beneficial bacteria is thought to be short-term and transient — another loss of performance. Will the EU ban on zinc oxide apply to all animal feeds, or is it specific to feeds intended for piglets? effect, you have a multiplying effect. They’re not eating enough, but then that efficiency of nutrient digestion and absorption is reduced. So, that gives you your poor growth performance. And that’s when we also see this increased susceptibility or incidence to post-weaning diarrhea. Anything that we can do to optimize gut health in those early days is really critical to the whole functionality of that young piglet and will have an impact on (its) subsequent health performance. A recent study actually said that producers experiencing an issue with post-weaning diarrhea, which is normally due to enterotoxigenic E. coli, costs about $680 per year. And in the present time, that’s money that our producers can’t afford to lose. Do piglets have very specific needs to establish good gut health and functions and to limit disease? Early-life nutrition is critical. The only thing I would add It’s specific to feeds intended for piglets, because being is that 70% of the new system tissues are found in the able to use these high pharmacological levels of zinc oxide gastrointestinal tract. So, I think that helps put it into is (only done) under veterinary prescription, but what they context as to how important gut health is, because, found is that the veterinary prescriptions are used quite obviously, if 70% of the new system cells are based in the broadly. And that only applies to the pig sector. So, it is gut, if it’s not going to work properly, then you are going purely for the pigs. to see increased disease and mortality, comorbidities, things like that. Why is it essential to optimize gut structures in microbial populations in piglets? In a swine market without zinc oxide, what are some nutritional approaches that could be used to So, as you probably know, most weaning piglets are potentially reduce the incidences of post-weaning subject to a multitude of stresses over a short period, diarrhea? (and) that contributes to disturbances within the gastrointestinal tract and immune system — but some of So, there’s a number of things that you can look at. those stresses, it could be nutritional. So, you’re changing There’s obviously nutrition management and health. the diet from sow’s milk to a dry, solid, pelleted diet that But if we just focus on nutrition, we can adjust the diet they’re not used to. You’re changing their environment, composition. So, for example, we’re looking at feeding so they’re moving from being in the farrowing house with lower crude protein levels. And the aim of that is to reduce the sow to nursery accommodation. the amount of undigested protein reaching the large intestine, so that reduces the incidence of post-weaning (With) that mixing of litter mates, you’ve got health- diarrhea and improves intestinal health. based issues. So, you’ve lost that passive immunity from the sow that’s found in the milk. They tend to be We can increase the dietary fiber level post-weaning. That immunocompromised because of stress and, then, helps to reduce shedding. It also affects the retention maternal separation and mixing with other pigs. But what time of digesta along the gastrointestinal tract. You can you do tend to get is you get a lower feed intake during use things like organic acid, acid secretion in the gut that immediate post-weaning period. And when you get of the piglet. It takes time to adapt to those dry-pellet that low feed intake, you get significant changes in the diets; those can add acid. It helps to promote good structure of the villi in the gastrointestinal tract. gastrointestinal conditions and healthy digestion and helps to reduce post-weaning diarrhea. So, many of you have seen the structure of a good gut. The villi — the nice, tall, finger-like villi — they have quite Well, Dr. Taylor-Pickard, what is your recommended a thin wall over which to absorb nutrients. The nutrient nutritional approach for these early nursery diets? digestion and absorption is quite efficient. But when they I think it’s important to be able to understand that there don’t eat and they don’t have the nutrients, these nice, isn’t a silver bullet to removing zinc oxide from diets. tall, finger-like villi change to fat, thick, thumb-like villi. We’ve done a lot of work in this area. You have to take a So, the surface area through which to absorb nutrients holistic approach. I would always start with the sow. And is reduced. And because they’re thicker, the efficiency of if we can clean the sow up — and when I say that, I mean, that nutrient absorption and digestion is reduced. So, in for example, we’ve been feeding some of our technologies 20 THE FEEDING TIMES to the sows so that we can reduce the pathogen load in sows. So that, in turn, reduces the maternal transfer of pathogens to that baby pig both in utero and at birth. And that also influences the microbiome or the microflora of that baby pig at birth. So, as soon as it’s born, it’s got the favorable microorganisms that we want, and you’ve got a better gut microflora. We also see things like increased colostrum quantity and quality — so, a higher level of immunoglobulins, so you’re getting back the passive transfer of immunity to that baby pig. So, we typically see less infections, less piglet mortality, high weaning rates. Look at the creep feeding. Make sure that — we’re trying to get at least 200 g of creep feeding to that baby pig while he’s still suckling the sow, because that also aids the transition to those solid diets, because he’s used to eating solid diets. And that, further, helps to get that higher-weight weaning. So, when the piglets are older or heavier at weaning, it makes that whole post-weaning transition process a lot easier. Typically, a lot of our producers forget about water. So, we do spend time looking at water quality (and) water flow rate to make sure that they drink — because if piglets drink, they will then eat. So, that helps to get the pigs eating. A lot of the problem with the post-weaning growth check starts (with the fact) that the pigs don’t eat. So, if we can get them to eat, it does have a huge impact. Absolutely. If we look at some of the things that are already happening — with Canada, for example. Until recently, they’ve typically included zinc oxide at between 2,500 to 5,000 ppm, but Canada is now in the process of imposing similar restrictions to that of the EU. And they will lower their levels, we’re thinking, to around 350 ppm. China actually reduced their levels in 2018. They were using around 2,200 ppm, and they dropped it to 1,600. So, not quite at the levels that we’re at; they’re still quite high. But I know that they’re looking to Europe again, with a view to reduce them even more. For the United States and for some Asian countries, it’s definitely not a case of “if”; it’s a case of “when”. And it’s very clear that they’re watching Europe to see what happens. So, it will definitely come into play. As I say, it’s just a case of “when” — and not knowing. Alltech has a Seed, Feed, Weed solution that can help remove zinc oxide from piglet diets. Tell us about that approach. So, as we talked about, a healthy gut is really important, with a good microbial population that allows us to maximize the health and lifetime performance of pigs and, obviously, to help our producers to profit still. Therefore, that’s why we look at nutritional strategies that can promote gut health. And that’s one of the things that’s our core competency on the monogastric side. You need to look at things like vaccination program, biosecurity and hygiene, and look at any stress factors in the environment. So, obviously, it really is a holistic approach. You have to look at everything. And the earlier you can start it — so, I would say, if you start with the sow, the better chances you have of getting that piglet through that post-weaning growth-check period. So, the Seed, Feed, Weed concept is one of our gut health programs, and it’s designed to modify the gut microbial population. So, we’re looking at establishing a more diverse and favorable microbial population as quickly as possible after this. So, we work with pig producers to implement the Seed, Feed, Weed program. And it’s basically got three components. The first one is “seeding” the guts with favorable organisms to give What about insoluble fibers such as oat and soybean us good performance. We then “feed” those favorable hulls, wheat bran (or) wheat middlings? organisms, which helps to further create a favorable Yeah. There’s a lot of emphasis on fiber at the moment. environment, which provides a competitive advantage So, we know that dietary fiber can improve gut health. It to those favorable organisms that’s tolerant to acidic promotes bacterial community and increases hindgut environments, unlike pathogens. So, yes, we’ve taken the fermentation. If we increase hindgut fermentation, we can balance toward the good guys, the favorable bacteria. And prevent diarrhea or disease. So, if we look specifically at then, finally, using Actigen, we “weed” out the unfavorable the insoluble fiber sources that you just mentioned, these bacteria by selective exclusion. are relatively resistant to fermentation in the hindgut. So, (we) incorporate natural feed materials — for example, They accelerate the passage rate of the digesta. So, that Actigen ® — that are proven to maintain a healthy gut prevents the proliferation and colonization of pathogens. for the normalizing of gut microflora in both sows and So, yes, there’s a huge role for insoluble fiber sources in piglets. And as I mentioned earlier, (the) maternal gut post-weaning diets to help us to reduce the incidence of health of the sow is intrinsically linked to that of the post-weaning diarrhea. offspring, which, again, is why our goal is to start with How do you think this ban on zinc oxide will affect pig- the sow. So, it’s all about getting the piglets off to the producing countries outside of the EU? For example, best possible start, but Seed, Feed, Weed is just that: It’s do you anticipate future regulatory restrictions on the seeding the gut with favorable organisms; it’s feeding use of zinc oxide in the U.S.? those favorable organisms; and it’s weeding out the unfavorable or the bad organisms. WINTER ISSUE – DECEMBER 2021 21