Replacing ZnO requires a combined approach

Time is running out to find solutions that could be used to replace therapeutic, high-level zinc oxide in weaned piglets. The EU will ban the use of medicinal levels of zinc oxide in 2022. It is becoming increasingly clear that zinc oxide cannot be replaced by a single product. A combination of feed additives can be part of the solution for this product ban.

Therapeutic high-level zinc oxide can be a very effective tool for preventing post-weaning diarrhoea in piglets. The global use of zinc oxide has therefore drastically increased. In 2017, the EU decided to ban medicinal use of zinc. From June 26th 2022, zinc as a feed additive can only be supplied in quantities that meet daily requirements. The allowed maximum level is currently set at 150 mg/kg of complete feed (EU 2016/1095).

From June 26th next year, all EU farmers need to produce piglets without using medicinal levels of zinc. Replacing therapeutic high-level zinc oxide is not easy and there is not yet a solution that will work on every farm.  Furthermore, given the low cost of ZnO, a cost-effective replacement strategy seems difficult in practice.

FRAmelco created a farm-specific solution to replace ZnO: A custom blend of a-monoglycerides, lysolecithins and glycerides of butyric acid. Although the cost was slightly higher compared to using medicinal levels of zinc oxide, piglet performance improved. This was indicated by higher final body weights and improved FCR, and resulted in higher revenue and a positive ROI.

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