Lallemand Animal Nutrition
United Kingdom & Ireland - English   [ change ]
What's new

May 22, 2020

Despite hotter summers pig producers could see significant gains when using specific probiotic supplements

May 22, 2020

As recently featured in Feed Compounder:

After extensive trials, Mark McFarland, Feed Additive Product Manager for Lallemand Animal Nutrition, discusses the proven benefits of probiotic live yeast supplementation in feed to manage the effects of heat stress in pigs.

While being a well-known issue in tropical climates, heat stress is largely an underestimated problem in UK and Irish pig production. However, with temperatures only needing to rise above 25°C in sows to cause significant heat stress, and summers now routinely reaching 32°C, pig producers could be experiencing profound loses by failing to tackle the issue.
Pigs are sensitive to heat. The effects of excessive heat are detrimental to their performance and welfare, particularly through a reduction of feed intake and re-direction of the animal’s metabolism. In the long term, heat stress can significantly impact reproduction performance and pigs can have a lower immunity level.
This is because at higher temperatures the pig must adapt to maintain its body temperature, meaning that mechanisms which dissipate heat are increased, while heat production is reduced. As digestion and metabolic utilisation of dietary nutrients is an important source of heat for the body, feed intake is strongly reduced during heat stress periods. This, in turn, causes negative repercussions for growth in fatteners, and milk production and body weight maintenance in sows.

Field research identifies reality of heat stress

While being a well-known issue in tropical climates, heat stress is largely an underestimated problem in UK and Irish pig production. However, with temperatures only needing to rise above 25°C in sows to cause significant heat stress, and summers now routinely reaching 32°C, pig producers could be experiencing profound loses by failing to tackle the issue.

Pigs are sensitive to heat. The effects of excessive heat are detrimental to their performance and welfare, particularly through a reduction of feed intake and re-direction of the animal’s metabolism. In the long term, heat stress can significantly impact reproduction performance and pigs can have a lower immunity level.

This is because at higher temperatures the pig must adapt to maintain its body temperature, meaning that mechanisms which dissipate heat are increased, while heat production is reduced. As digestion and metabolic utilisation of dietary nutrients is an important source of heat for the body, feed intake is strongly reduced during heat stress periods. This, in turn, causes negative repercussions for growth in fatteners, and milk production and body weight maintenance in sows.

Field research identifies reality of heat stress

Since 2016, Lallemand Animal Nutrition has conducted field surveys across farms in Europe during the summer months. Temperatures and humidity were recorded every 30 minutes in pig sheds using electric probes placed at animal level next to the feeding trough.
Figure 1 summarises the data gathered from 22 farms, and shows the average daily percentage of time spent above 25°C.

Figure 1 – Average daily percentage of time spent above 25°C (significant heat stress) and estimation of the associated feed intake reduction for surveyed farmsage of time spent above 250C.

These results indicate that even in countries which are considered to have a mild climate, such as the UK and Ireland, heat stress is a reality. The reduction in feed intake was calculated and shown to be between 0.5-2kg per pig per day for farms surveyed.

How to tackle heat stress through the diet

The use of probiotic live yeast S. c. boulardii CNCM I-1079 (Levucell SB, Lallemand Animal Nutrition) has been proven to help control the digestive process and performance of pigs when presented with a heat stress challenge. Field trials have shown that its benefits can help ensure sow performance under heat stress conditions, translating into improved piglet performance in lactation and at weaning, as shown in Table 1.
Table 1 – Summary of field and university trials in lactating sows with probiotic live yeast S. c. boulardii CNCM I-1079 supplementation under heat stress conditions

The benefits of live yeast supplementation seen on farm have been confirmed by further research carried out by independent institutions. Using a state of the art experimental facility, a team at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA Pegase) conducted an in-depth study on the effects of the live yeast supplementation, S. c. boulardii CNCM I-1079, on thermal heat adaption and energy balance in pigs. For this research, finishing pigs were used as a model due to larger animals tending to be more sensitive to heat stress.

In the study, 12 Pietrain crossed with Landrace and Large White finisher pigs, received a cereal and soybean meal-based diet with no feed supplementation, except for the addition of S. c. boulardii CNCM I-1079 two weeks prior to the results being captured.
For each diet trialled, pigs were housed individually in the respiration chambers (Figure 2) and were subjected to one week at 22°C, which is considered a thermo neutral environment. After this period, the temperature was gradually increased over two days to allow for animals’ adaption, and was followed by a period of two weeks at 28°C which is a heat stress environment.

Impact of heat stress on pig welfare and performance:

-Increased rectal temperature

-Increased water consumption and urine quantity

-Reduced feed intake

-Inactivity

-Reduced body weight/decreased growth

-Paleness, dry skin

– Tachypnea and bradycardia

-Higher sensibility to disease

-Reproduction issues (fertility, farrowing rate, litter size)

-Convulsion

-Mortality

During the trial, different parameters were monitored, including individual live weight, eating behaviour, energy and nitrogen balances. Heat production was calculated through gas exchange measurements according to the principles of indirect calorimetry.
When looking at the results, there was a strong indication that the live yeast strain S. c. boulardii CNCM I-1079 had a positive effect on growth performance under both the heat stress and thermo-neutral temperatures.
There was, however, a clear indication that the supplementation

Figure 2 – The experimental facility at INRA used to study energy balance and metabolism in pigs under controlled conditions

Figure 3 – Effect of S. c. boulardii CNCM I-1079 supplementation on pig dry matter intake during the heat stress test (blue: thermoneutral week, pink: 1st and 2nd weeks of heat stress conditions) (INRA, France, 2015)

had a greater impact under the heat stress conditions as it was able to compensate for the negative impact the heat was having on live weight gain through two significant effects:

  1. Improved feeding behaviour – the total daily feed intake of 1. pigs was not affected by ambient temperature when given the supplemented diet, and was reduced in the control diet, as shown in Figure 3.
  2. Positive effect on energy metabolism – less energy was 2. consumed for heat production, therefore made available for pig growth, improving feed efficiency.

Combating heat stress

With its effects being detrimental to performance and welfare, namely through a reduction of feed intake and redirection of the animal metabolism, heat stress needs to be addressed by the pig production industry. In addition, when looking at longer term issues, health and reproductive performances can be significantly impacted.
As shown in the conducted research, managing the animal’s digestive system with a specific probiotic live yeast under heat stress conditions can provide huge benefits, including higher feed intake and improved feed efficiency.
Looking to the future management of pigs, this supplement could provide a valuable tool to help alleviate the impact of heat stress on pig production both in indoor and outdoor systems.

How does a live yeast perform during feed processing?

After extensive research and establishing proven production steps and a specific coating process, Lallemand Animal Nutrition has developed a patented technology of micro-encapsulation, TITAN, which optimises live yeast viability post-pelleting.
Independent benchmarking studies performed by recognised institutions have demonstrated the higher stability of TITAN encapsulated yeast when compared to other yeast sources. As shown in Figure 4, in a simple pelleting process (at 85°C), TITAN technology is the only one reaching the expected level of CFU/g in finished feed. This demonstrates that Levucell SB TITAN probiotic live yeast survives the pelletisation process.
Figure 4 – Pelleting stability of TITAN vs. non-coated beadlet yeast products (85°C) (IFF, 2017)

 

References for the studies are available from the author on request
mmcfarland@lallemand.com.