Innovation-focused nutrition and gut health are front and centre as swine operations transition for success in today's new industry landscape
Airdrie, ALBERTA — Canadian swine producers are taking strong steps to lead, innovate and meet rising expectations for sustainable, profitable production.
Helping to power their progress is a new infusion of advancements across the areas of feed and nutrition, health and welfare, management and more -- with many examples showcased this week at the Alberta Pork Congress, June 11 to 13, in Red Deer, Alberta.
"It's an important time of evolution in the swine industry," says Jan Geurts, director of swine nutrition for Nutrition Partners, which has a strong focus on and is a featured exhibitor at the event. "There many challenges and new expectations, but at the same time we have better knowledge, tools and strategies than ever before to support a successful new era of production.."
Window on the latest opportunities
The Alberta Pork Congress provides a window on a number of key areas of progress. For Nutrition Partners and the expanding base of swine operations its serves, one of the most promising areas of advancement is through innovation-focused approaches to nutrition. The top trends, especially for optimizing results with young, developing pigs, include a rising focus on gut health and taking advantage of the latest nutritional technologies from Europe - which has already tackled the shift to bio-based, reduced antimicrobial approaches now underway in North America.
A leading example of the upgraded programs now available to Canadian swine producers is the new Nutrition Partners pig starter program. This newly designed program, based on the latest research and on-farm knowledge, puts gut health and catering to the unique needs of young pigs at the centre of the strategy, while incorporating the latest nutritional technologies from Europe in a North American context, utilizing high quality ingredients and no animal by-products. This new Nutrition Partners pig starter program, launched at Alberta Pork Congress, is available as complete feed, starterbase or premix.
Rising focus on gut health, new feed technologies from Europe
"Our knowledge of the critical importance of gut health has increased by leaps and bounds in recent years," says Geurts, part of a Nutrition Partners swine team that also includes Pieter van Wijck and Misha Oliynyk. "It is the engine that drives not only the well-being and optimal development of the animals but also huge efficiency and performance advantages at all stages of production. This focus is represented in our Nutrition Partners pig starter program."
By implementing the best nutritional technologies and strategies early-on in the life cycle, producers have the greatest opportunity for success, says van Wijck. "The pig starter program exemplifies this approach. Supporting the gut environment is arguably the top area of opportunity for producers and industry to optimize performance and efficiency, to get the most from production systems and also to protect value throughout the life cycle of the pigs. Optimized gut morphology and integrity in turn supports animal wellness, performance, productivity and value retention across all production phases. It's about setting the pig up for life with a focus on gut health."
At the end of the day, it's all about making a difference on the farm, says Oliynyk. "Producers are the ones on the front line who care for the animals and implement the improvements that support both the short and long-term success of the broader industry. By driving continual improvement at the farm level everyone benefits, from the animals to the producers to the consumers who enjoy safe high-quality pork products produced efficiently and sustainably. That's why for us, it’s about creating progress -- your farm’s progress."
Mindset of teamwork, partnership drives success
Collaboration and teamwork is also essential, with cross-disciplinary approaches emerging as another top trend and area of innovation, says Darryl Lewis, president of Nutrition Partners. "We believe strongly that models that integrate different areas of expertise are the way of the future. For example, health, nutrition and management are all inter-related and must work together. As part of this, we also believe the producer must be a direct partner in deciding what will work best. Every farm is unique and requires its own tailored approach for the best implementation of different strategies and programs."
For example, a swine operation can have the latest and most cutting-edge nutrition strategies, but if these strategies don’t fit with management they won’t work, says Lewis. "Success today is about teamwork and alignment among everything that goes into production. This is also why we define our role not just as feed providers and nutrition advisors, but as partners with the farmers we serve. Our teams work on customer’s farms, hand-in-hand with the producers and directly with their livestock, promoting improvement through sharing knowledge and providing multi-disciplinary support”
Nutrition Partners -- Your Partner in Progress -- specializes in collaborative approaches that support the success of livestock operations through custom programs and services tailored to individual needs. Nutrition Partners uses knowledge, global experience, and technology to build unique solutions that integrate all aspects of a farm’s conditions – whether swine, poultry, or dairy. Learn more at www.nutritionpartners.ca. Visit Nutrition Partners at Alberta Pork Congress, booth #274.