“We need a change in the mind-set of the industry, collaboration with experts and education to reach antibiotic reduction”

15 March 2017

The development of strategies to reduce- and eventually phase out- antibiotics in animal production is starting to show its first and promising results for the industry. Keeping up with trends, what is available to help producers reduce antibiotics while keeping up performance?

Last week, during a series of seminars in Asia Pacific under the title “The Future Integrated Solution for Profitable AGP-free Production”, Trouw Nutrition gathered experts and animal producers to address the main challenges producers are facing regarding antibiotic reduction. The events took place in Philipines, Indonesia and Thailand. About 230 feed and animal producers of the region gathered together with key leaders on the subject.

The need to reduce antibiotic use

Keynote speakers from the FAO highlighted the importance of taking an active role in antibiotic reduction. If nothing is done, they assured, it is estimated that 10 million people will die across the world by 2050 and the cumulative lost outputs will be worth up to US $100 trillion globally.

Jon Ratcliff, consultant for the main U. K. supermarket chains on food & agriculture matters, highlighted that antibiotics used to increase growth, improve feed utilisation and reduce mortality were banned in Europe between 15 and 10 years ago. This was the first step towards antibiotic reduction. That trend is now being observed globally. Besides legislation, also food consumers are already demanding meat without antibiotics. “Such a demand actually led to the launch of a new global certification standard for animal products: Raised Without Antibiotics”, Ratcliff explained.

The challenge for animal producers lies on keeping performance after withdrawing AGP’s. Ratcliff showed the direct relationship between improvement of animal performance and good environmental conditions. “The European experience shows that there is life after AGPs, but it requires an integrated approach” the expert said.

About the strategies to maintain profitability in AGP- free environments

Linked to the integrated approach concept, Maarten van der Heijden, Global Feed Additives Programme Manager for Trouw Nutrition (in the picture below), presented his experience on European cases.

Van der Heijden showcased some impressive results on field experiences where this approach was taken. By analysing data and executing audits to examine the critical points of animal production without antibiotics, they could select the right strategy. Combining Selko feed additives with feed, farm and health management advice, proved that it is possible to reduce antibiotics while keeping or even improving performance. The main outcome is an increase in profitability, as animals perform better but also the end product gets an added value in the market. “The key elements to reach antibiotic reduction while maximising profit are a change in the mind-set of the industry, collaboration with experts and education of the producers”, the Dutch expert concluded. 

“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”.
Maarten van der Heijden
Global Feed Additives Programme Manager for Trouw Nutrition