Successful zinc replacement is not just about the feed
High levels of zinc oxide (ZnO) are an effective weapon against the gastrointestinal bacteria that frequently cause diarrhoea in piglets during the weaning transition. From June 2022, however, the EU will enforce a ban on the use of ZnO in weaner diets – a decision that has launched an intensive race to find an alternative solution.
The weaning transition is one of the most challenging periods in a pig’s life, associated with stress, poor growth and diarrhoea. Solutions have typically revolved around optimising the feed, which is why the search for a ZnO alternative initially focused on finding an ingredient that could serve as a 1:1 replacement.
But, as the EU deadline approaches, it is becoming increasingly clear that the solution cannot be found in a feed ingredient alone. Instead, ZnO replacement requires a more complex solution where health status, management and hygiene must be combined with feeding strategies and feed solutions in an overall solution to weaning diarrhoea.