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Danish Weaner Producers Struggle with Loss of Antibiotics as Growth Promoters

by 5m Editor
5 June 2003, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1261. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

World Pork Expo June 5, 2003 Report 05
(Episode 1261)

The National Committee of Pig Producers in Denmark says swine producers in that nation are still struggling to restore weaner pig productivity in the wake of the elimination of antibiotics as growth promoters.

In 1998 the Danish swine industry agreed to a voluntary ban on the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in the grower finisher barn and that ban was extended to all pigs one and a half years later.

Nutrition and Reproduction Department Head Dr. Niels Kjeldsen says the ban's biggest impact has been felt by weaner producers.

"In finisher herds the productivity was nearly not influenced by the rejection of growth promoters because we had enough existing knowledge to cope with the problem and to advise farmers how to manage without big troubles.

The last decision, about rejecting growth promoters in weaners seems to be a more severe attack on productivity.

We have recorded high mortality rates in the nursery houses and lower productivity which we now three years after the ban, still have not recovered.

We realize we don't have enough knowledge to absolutely get rid of this reduced productivity but most of it can be improved by improved management, reduced stocking rates in the pens, feed the pig restricted instead of at liberty after weaning and perhaps improve the diets a little bit but generally it's a question about better management and reduced stocking rates".

Dr. Kjeldsen estimates the elimination of antibiotics as growth promoters has cost roughly 1.1 dollar US per pig. He says some producers report the ban has resulted in catastrophic losses while other operators report no significant impact.

At World Pork Expo, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor