Requirement of Feed-Farm-Health Approach


Data from various animal trials indicate that an integrated feed, farm and health management approach contribute to reduced antibiotics in poultry production, while maintaining performance and profitability.


Sustainable animal health and productivity are the need of the hour.  One of the important aspects for ensuring this through responsible usage of antibiotics. Nutreco’s R&D Director, Professor Leo den Hartog, says that there is no alternative to antibiotics but only responsible usage. The part-time Wageningen University professor explains that antibiotic usage in animal production has become a global issue in the agenda of nearly all countries around the globe. In his opinion, the challenge can only be faced with an integrated approach. “A drastic reduction of antibiotics in food production can be achieved if we move to a new farming model based on integrated and multi-stakeholder collaboration,” he explained.

Dr. Hartog explains the reason for an integrated approach saying that, “Good nutrition means starting from the beginning of the production cycle with good quality ingredients but also with natural feed additives.” When developing the integrated approach it was especially stressed that nutrition does not stand on its own, but needs to be accompanied by optimizing farm management and enhancing animal health.

Feed farm health

Implementing this integrated approach delivers same or even better performance results while significantly reducing the use of antibiotics, as shown in conclusions from several field trials. A study in Indonesia with 300,000 broilers showed that broilers fed  feed additives reached similar performance to animals that were on AGPs. The use of a functional feed additive via drinking water and another in the feed showed comparable good results as with AGPs, achieving a high performance index (figure 1). Furthermore, both groups had a low mortality rate (4.0% and 4.1%) which confirms the outstanding performance of the  broilers in this trial.

Gut health performance graph

In a second case, an extensive German data analysis showed how feed additives and improved farm management can contribute to reduced antibiotics in poultry production. The data used came from 29 million broilers from 11 German farms, collected in five years, over 339 cycles. The farms applying new farming management (e.g. water hygiene, bio security) and functional feed additives, confirmed that it was possible to decrease the use of antibiotics by 59% (figure 2) while reducing mortality by 28% and FCR by 5.3% (data not shown).

antibiotic reduction usage by 59%

Implementing feed, farm and health management is a change of mind-set. Therefore, it is important to show to animal producers that implementing this integrated approach delivers same or even better results. In this concept, it is of crucial importance that animal nutrition experts work together with farming and veterinary professionals to educate producers. Collaboration is the best way forward to face the challenge and take the next step towards antibiotic free production.

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