Reduce carbon footprint – the story behind the Anco tree

Planting trees helps to reduce carbon footprint. Anco had the opportunity through Ameisenhaufen to plant a tree in Guatemala and went for it. The fun thing is we can now follow the development of our tree online on the Treedom platform. So, here is the story behind it and how it is also helping farmers in Guatemala.

Green Webhosting to help reduce carbon footprint

At the end of last year Anco was offered the opportunity to support the green webhosting initiative from our web design partner Ameisenhaufen. This Austrian based web design agency started growing a forest with the help of the Treedom organization to make an impact when it comes to reducing carbon footprint.

The green webhosting concept means that for every new company signing up for the webhosting service provided by Ameisenhaufen, Ameisenhaufen is committed to donating a tree to be planted through the Treedom organization.

The idea behind the forest grown through the green webhosting initiative from the company Ameisenhaufen (Ameisenhaufen=anthill) is not only to help reduce carbon footprint, but also to provide a new habitat for ants and other animals in the wild. Furthermore, the donation to the Treedom organization is supporting farmers around the globe to plant trees and care for them. You can find more information on Treedom below.

The company Ameisenhaufen has already contributed to planting 250 trees through its green webhosting initiative, each of these trees comes with its own geolocation and can be followed in their development online. One of these trees is from Anco.

Why plant a tree?

Planting trees is a highly effective way of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere and is an important part of climate change solutions.  Indeed, scientists are now saying that forest restoration is the most powerful climate change solution. The great thing is, it is the cheapest way everybody can play a role in making an impact, by either growing trees themselves or donating to organizations involved in forest restoration.

Anco tree is helping farmers in Guatemala

Finally, we were told where the Anco tree, that came out of our contribution to green webhosting by Ameisenhaufen, is starting to grow. It is a coffee tree (Coffea Arabica) putting down roots in San Pedro Necta, Guatemala. The Anco tree comes with its own birth certificate, geolocation and online diary, where we are able to follow its growth and development.  By the time it is fully grown it should be adsorbing 55kg Co2. At the same time it is helping local farmers in Guatemala with their income and development.

Presence of Anco FIT in Guatemala

Anco FIT products are distributed by Eddy de Paz through the company Exin in Guatemala. In this country Anco FIT sales started in 2017 and have now reached a level where 9% of the animal feed produced in Guatemala has Anco FIT products inside.

Treedom forest restoration initiative to reduce carbon footprint

Treedom is supporting farmers around the globe with know-how and finance to plant and manage trees. It also provides a digital platform for those who are donating to this initiative, to monitor the trees they donated to over time. All trees that were planted are geolocated and come with their own diaries of their growth and development and contribution to adsorbing Co2, which gets documented online.

The philosophy behind Treedom is to realize sustainable ecosystems and allow farmers to support the initial costs of planting new trees, ensuring food autonomy and income opportunities. Since the launch of Treedom, over half a million new trees have been planted in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Italy.

 

Relevant links

Treedom tree planting platform

Green Webhosting with the Ameisenhaufen

Anco FIT product line now available in more than 30 countries

Biomimicry – can it help in the design of sustainable feed solutions?

Biomimicry has already generated many new technologies inspired by nature. Is there something that we can take away from it for the design of animal feed solutions for sustainable animal nutrition?

What is biomimicry?

Biomimicry, or biomimetics, is the study of nature and leveraging solutions that have evolved in nature to innovate and solve problems for the benefit of humans.  So essentially it is about piggy backing on nature or emulating what has already been proven by nature to work and to be sustainable throughout time.

Biomimicry is thought of as a field with potential to bring answers to many different disciplines, including medicine, architecture, agriculture, industry. It can pretty much apply to all sectors. Examples for innovations stemming from the application of biomimicry are architectural designs with improved thermoregulation inspired by termite mounds, robotics inspired by motor mechanisms of insects or velcro, which is derived from the observation of hooks implemented by certain plants that stick to animal coats. Aircraft engineers are inspired by birds and sharks to design lighter and more fuel-efficient aircrafts.

Repurposing nature’s best ideas to solve human challenges

 

Advantages of applying biomimicry to innovation and design

The field of biomimicry has experienced significant growth in recent years and has been popularized by Janine Benyus. It is now a tool to accelerate innovation for small and large companies.

Biomimicry is explained to be different from other bio-inspired design, because of its focus on learning from nature how to be sustainable. Designs following biomimicry are thought to be more efficient, resilient and sustainable, if they emulated biological lessons on form, process and ecosystem. The outcome is superior to that developed through any artificial means.

Biomimicry applied to the design of sustainable animal feed solutions

Farm animals possess limited physiologic responses to challenges such as for example high ambient temperatures, reproduction, oxidation or infections. However, amongst the millions of other species on earth facing the same challenges, we can find many other strategies or adaptations, which could be superior. This means that, within nature there are not just a handful of solutions, but a huge variety of strategies we could potentially adapt to solve physiological needs and equip animals to cope better with stressors.

How did nature solve this?

Plants evolved with sophisticated strategies to cope with stressors, since they can not move away from them and are bound to their locations. We can also learn from other organisms and species in nature that survive under extreme conditions, which strategies give them an advantage. What can we leverage from that in animal nutrition to support adaptive and coping mechanisms in animals?

New benchmarks in animal production and better ways of measuring improvements call for new approaches in the design and evaluation of feed solutions. Biomimicry offers a framework for innovation with sustainable outcomes. There is certainly no harm in asking how nature solved something as a source of inspiration.

Relevant articles

Animal resilience – harnessing the power of plant resilience

Resilient dairy cows – why is their value increasing?

Resilient dairy cows are worth more. Researchers studying resilience are discovering the benefits of resilience for cow wellbeing, production life span and profitability in milk production.

What resilience can NOT do in dairy cows

Resilience cannot replace good management practices, stresses Professor Müller, Director of the Ruminant and Swine Clinic of the Freie Universität Berlin in a webinar presentation organized by Anco Animal Nutrition Competence.

Ultimately it is about preparing the cow for stressors and challenges that cannot be controlled by management.  One of these challenges for example is the change from the dry period stage into  the lactation stage, i.e., the transition period. This is a natural and unstoppable process initiated by calving. However, the period around calving and the start of lactation is very stressful for the cow, especially for high producing dairy cows. A resilient cow can better adapt to this change from one stage into another and to the shock to her metabolism.

Also, the ability to adapt to issues arising from climate change play an important role to reduce the impact of heat stress on performance and animal welfare in dairy cow husbandry.

Definition of resilience in animal production

Colditz and Hine (2016) defined resilience as.  “The capacity of the animal to return rapidly to its pre-challenge state following short-term exposure to a challenging situation.”  In other words, resilience in animals is the product of a better adaptability or lower sensitivity to a challenge.

In the following short video Professor Kerstin-Elisabeth Mueller explains the concept with a few very good visual representations.

Definition Resilienz in der Tierhaltung

Benefits of resilient dairy cows for competitive milk production

  •  Resilient dairy cows have a greater chance for increased longevity

The production life span of a dairy cow is an important factor for the profitability of a dairy herd. However, many cows leave the herd early and 40% leave within the first 100 days of lactation.

The reason for short-lived production life spans are often production related diseases. It has been confirmed that the cause of it has more to do with a sub-optimal adaption during the transition period than with high milk yields.

Resilient dairy cows have a higher adaptive capacity, which reduces the risk for them to develop production diseases during the transition period.  Researchers in the Netherlands have been able to detect dairy cows with a higher risk of developing production diseases in the transition period through specific metabolic indicators and sensor technology in advance.

  • Resilient dairy cows can cope better with climate change

It has been shown that there is a need in animal production to be able to adapt to climate change, to ensure stable incomes on farms. Especially high producing dairy cows are more sensitive to high ambient temperatures and are more prone to suffer from heat stress, due to their increased body heat production.

Cows experiencing heat stress produce less milk, lower milk quality and are more susceptible to disease. For those reasons, animal geneticists are trying to find ways to breed dairy cows that are more resilient to high ambient temperatures.

  • Resilient dairy cows require less labour time

A shortage in labour in dairy production increases the need for dairy cows that are easier to care for. Researchers from the Netherlands report that resilient dairy cows require less labour time, because the cows show less problems.  The performance of these cows is more consistent, and they are more likely to maintain their health, which means that cow sensors submit fewer warning signals for animal care workers to attend to the animals. A reduction in time spent on an animal with an alert from sensors will also reduce costs associated with labour

What are the factors influencing resilience in dairy cows?

Resilience in dairy cows is to some extent influenced by her genetic make-up, i.e. breeding. However, external factors such as management practices and nutrition have a far bigger influence on resilience of the cow, explains Professor Mueller in an Anco webinar

Watch this short video to see what Professor Mueller had to say.

resiliente Kühe - Resilienz

Conclusion

The value of resilient dairy cows is increasing, because they provide an opportunity to satisfy trends in consumer demands for animal welfare and at the same time can influence profitability in milk production in a sustainable way.

Automatic milking and feeding systems in combination with new sensor technologies enable the measurement of resilience in the dairy cow and the progress made.

Collaboration between geneticists, veterinarians, animal behaviour researchers, animal nutritionists, ag tech businesses and farmers has the best chance of success for a significant long-term improvement in resilience of dairy cows.

At Anco Animal Nutrition Competence we are contributing to finding solutions to support resilience in dairy cows via nutrition. Ask for Anco FIT products to take the first step for more resilience in dairy cows.

Relevant articles

Resilience – economic value in animal production

Dairy farming resilience – 3 reasons to keep your cows agile

Feeding cows for adaptive capacity in the transition period

EuroTier digital – Visit the digital Anco booth

Anco is signed up to EuroTier digital and we hope we can welcome you into our digital space. You will find links at our digital booth to help you request a virtual meeting with an Anco team member.

Why visit the Anco digital booth?

You can explore information on our products and have the opportunity to book digital appointments with our booth staff to discuss them and find out more if you have specific questions.  It is an opportunity to meet members of the Anco team face to face, albeit in a virtual context.

Where can I find the Anco digital booth?

Log into the digital platform of EuroTier digital, where you will find an exhibitor database and search functions to look up specific companies.

EuroTIer digital Platform Eurotier 2021 (dlg.org)

Direct Link to Anco Digital Booth  

or contact us directly Anco contact

семінар – Сучасні виклики, тренди та інноваційні рішення в свинарстві

Спільно з нашим дистриб’ютором Anco FIT на ринку України, компанією АГРОСЕПЛАЙ, ми організовуємо безкоштовний вебінар

Сучасні виклики, тренди та інноваційні рішення в свинарстві

27 Січня 2021 р

11:00

Як зареєструватися

Вебінар є безкоштовним, і ви можете зареєструватися за посиланням нижче. Запрошуємо до активної участі

Що очікувати

В 70-ті — 80-ті роки минулого сторіччя в Україні нараховувалося близько 20 млн голів свиней та вироблялося понад 1.6 млн т свинини в забійній вазі. Зараз поголів’я втричі менше, а обсяги виробництва свинини, відповідно поступаються більше ніж вдвічі. За цей період в галузі відбулися серйозні трансформації. Після, практично повного, занепаду промислового сегменту в 90-ті, почалося зародження нового свинарства в двохтисячні. Почалися реконструкції та нові будівництва свинокомплексів з використанням сучасних технологічних підходів в утриманні та годівлі, імпортувалися інтенсивні генотипи свиней з високими репродуктивними, відгодівельними та забійними якостями. В наступному десятилітті (десяті роки) промисловий сегмент поступово набирав своєї ваги, натомість присадибне свинарство демонструвало низхідну динаміку. В той же час подальший поступальний розвиток гальмували низка факторів, серед яких, безперечно, спад економіки та африканська чума свиней були визначальними. Наступне десятиліття, що стартувало з занурення галузі в глибокий економічний кризовий стан ставить перед свинарями низку задач, обговорення котрих і є нагальною необхідністю фахівців та небайдужих людей.

В першій презентації Артура Лози буде проаналізовано ситуацію в виробничому сегменті  українського свинарства (динаміка поголів’я, обсяги виробництва, регіональний розподіл). Буде надано аналіз ринкового середовища (баланси, ціни, індекс маржинальності) . Обговоримо ключові виклики та визначальні тенденції для галузі в поточному десятилітті.

У другій презентації доктор Рената Брейтсма розгляне, як інноваційна кормова концепція, розроблена для підтримки адаптивності свиней до боротьби зі стресовими явищами, може природно сприяти стабільнішим доходам, підтримці високої продуктивності та зменшенню потреби у антибіотичних стимуляторах росту в годівлі свиней.

Про доповідачів

Артур Лоза — незалежний консультант в галузі свинарства (організація бізнесу, менеджмент,   технології), член стратегічної ради ПП “Сігма” (3000 свиноматок), екс президент  Асоціації свинарів України (2012-2018рр.), кандидат сільськогосподарських наук. Має понад 35 років наукового та практичного досвіду в зазначеній галузі.

Рената Брейтсма – Менеджер з розробки продуктів в компанії Anco Animal Nutrition, доктор з питань годівлі тварин та птиці з освітою у напрямку ветеринарної медицини. Вона має більш ніж 10-річний досвід роботи в міжнародній індустрії кормових добавок для тварин та птиці і має наступні ключові компетенції:

  • Дослідження та розробка кормових добавок
  • Технічна підтримка (тренінги, підтримка продажів на виробництві)
  • Оцінка наукових концепцій кормових добавок (дослідження та проведення виробничих випробуваннь, наукові конференції, наукові публікації)

Resiliente Milchkühe – warum steigt Ihr Wert für Milchproduktion?

Ehrlich währt am längsten – aber resiliente Milchkühe auch. Es befassen sich bereits mehrere Disziplinen mit Resilienz bei Milchkühen. Grund: Es zahlt sich aus für Tierwohl, Langlebigkeit und nachhaltige  Rentabilität in der Milchproduktion. Hier werden die Vorteile mehr im Detail angesprochen und erklärt was Resilienz für die Milchkuh eigentlich bedeutet.

Was ist Resilienz NICHT bei Milchkühen?

„Resilienz ist nicht geeignet, um ungünstige Haltungsbedingungen oder ein defizitäres Management zu kompensieren“ betont Professor Kerstin-Elisabeth Mueller, Tierärztin und Direktorin der Klinik für Klauentiere an der Freien Universität Berlin in einem Vortrag bei einer Webinarveranstaltung von Anco.

Sinn der Sache ist, die Kuh für Stresssituationen auszustatten, die man weniger durch Management kontrollieren kann.  Dazu gehört zum Beispiel der Wechsel zur Milchproduktion – also die Transitphase. Dieser Prozess ist natürlich und unvermeidlich, wenn die Kuh kalbt. Der Zeitraum rund um die Geburt und Beginn der Laktation ist jedoch für die Kuh eine schwere Belastungssituation, vor allem wenn sie darauf ausgerichtet ist hohe Mengen an Milch zu produzieren. Eine resiliente Kuh kann sich besser auf diesen „Schockwechsel“ von einem Zustand in den nächsten anpassen.

Aber auch die Anpassungsfähigkeit zum Beispiel gegenüber dem Klimawandel spielt langfristig gesehen eine wichtige Rolle in der Haltung von Milchkühen, um den negativen Folgen von Hitzestress auf Leistung und Gesundheit vorzubeugen.

Was ist Resilienz in der Tierhaltung

„Die Fähigkeit eines Tieres durch eine Störgröße nur minimal beeinträchtigt zu werden, um danach umgehend in den ursprünglichen Zustand, der vor dem Einfluss herrschte, zurückzukehren“ (Colditz and Hine 2016)

In dem folgenden Video veranschaulicht Professor Kerstin-Elisabeth Mueller von der Freien Universität Berlin die Definition in einer Weise, dass man sich die Bedeutung von Resilienz in der Milchkuh auch bildlich besser vorstellen kann.

Video zur Definition von Resilienz in der Tierhaltung

 

Definition Resilienz in der Tierhaltung

 

Welche Vorteile bringen resiliente Milchkühe für eine wettbewerbsfähige Milchproduktion?

  • Resiliente Kühe haben bessere Chancen für Langlebigkeit

Nur eine langlebige Kuh bringt wirklich Geld ein für einen Milchkuhbetrieb. Jedoch gehen viele Kühe vorzeitig ab, bevor die Milchproduktion optimal ausgenutzt worden ist. Das passiert zu einem großen Teil (40 Prozent der Abgänge) in den ersten 100 Tagen der Laktation. Grund der kurzen Lebensdauer von Hochleistungskühen sind häufig Produktionskrankheiten. Es wurde bereits bestätigt, dass die Ursache dafür viel mehr mit einer gestörten Anpassung an die Umstellung während der Transitperiode als an der Hochleistung an sich zusammenhängt. Resiliente Kühe verfügen über ein besseres Adaptationsvermögen und daher ist das Risiko bei ihnen während der Transitphase Produktionskrankheiten zu entwickeln geringer. Niederländischen Wissenschaftlern gelang es  über bestimmte Messwerte und Sensortechnik Kühe, mit einem erhöhtem Risiko in der Transitphase an Produktionskrankheiten zu erkranken,  bereits im Vorfeld zu erkennen.

  • Resiliente Kühe können sich besser an den Klimawandel anpassen

Es ist nachgewiesen, dass die landwirtschaftliche Nutztierhaltung vom Klimawandel betroffen ist und langfristig ein Anpassungsbedarf in der Tierhaltung besteht, um die Ertragsstabilität zu gewährleisten. Vor allem Tiere mit hohem genetischen Leistungspotential sind gegenüber erhöhten Temperaturen anfälliger für Hitzestress auf Grund der höheren Eigenproduktion von Wärme.  Kühe unter Hitzestress erzeugen weniger Milch, die Milchqualität leidet und Kühe werden krankheitsanfälliger. Daher befasst man sich vor allem in der Tiergenetik damit Wege zu finden, um Kühe resilienter gegenüber Hitze zu züchten.

  • brauchen weniger Behandlungen/Medikamente

Da resiliente Kühe ein geringeres Risiko zeigen Produktionskrankheiten zu entwickeln ist es auch wahrscheinlicher, dass sie weniger mit Medikamenten (inklusive Antibiotika) behandelt werden müssen.  Zu Produktionskrankheiten gehören zum Beispiel: Ketose, Leberverfettung, Hypokalzämie und Euterentzündungen. Sie können also dazu beitragen den Einsatz von Antibiotika weiter zu reduzieren und Behandlungskosten einzusparen.

  • nehmen weniger Zeit in Anspruch

Mangel an Arbeitskräften für Milchviehbetriebe führt zu einem erhöhten Bedarf nach Kühen die problemloser zu halten sind. Niederländische Forschung in der Genetik von Milchkühen berichtet, dass Kühe mit einer erhöhten Resilienz weniger Arbeitszeit in Anspruch nehmen könnten, da sie weniger Probleme anzeigen. Ihre Leistung verläuft gleichmäßiger und sie bleiben gesünder. Damit sind resiliente Milchkühe auch leichter zu managen.

Welche Faktoren beeinflussen Resilienz in der Milchkuh?

Die Resilienz einer Kuh wird zum Teil durch ihre Genetik, also Züchtung bestimmt. Jedoch haben äußere Faktoren, wie Außenbedingungen, Haltungsbedingungen und Fütterung einen wesentlich größeren Einfluss auf die Resilienz der Kuh, erklärt Professor, Dr. Kerstin- Elisabeth Mueller in einem Vortag bei einem Anco Webinar.

Video zu Einflussfaktoren auf die Resilienz in der Milchkuh

 

resiliente Kühe - Resilienz

Fazit

Der Wert von resilienten Milchkühen steigt, weil sie eine Möglichkeit bieten, den Ansprüchen des Konsumenten und wichtiger Trends mit Einfluss auf Tierwohl und Rentabilität von Milchproduktion, in einer nachhaltigen Weise gerecht zu werden.

Melkroboter, automatische Fütterungstechnologien und neue Sensortechnik, ermöglichen die Erfassung von Resilienz in der Milchkuh und damit auch ihre Verbesserung zu verfolgen.  Eine koordinierte Bestrebung durch Genetiker, Tierärzte, Verhaltensforscher, Tierernährer, Ag-tech Firmen und Landwirte hat die besten Aussichten auf Erfolg für eine wesentliche Steigerung von Resilienz in Milchkühen der Zukunft.

Wir bei Anco Animal Nutrition Competence leisten unseren Beitrag Lösungen zu finden, um die Resilienz bei Milchkühen über die Fütterung zu unterstützen.  Fragen Sie nach Anco FIT Farm, um Ihren ersten Schritt für mehr Resilienz zu tun.

Relevante Links

Resilienz in der Milchkuh – Nutzen in der Milchviehhaltung

Labour shortage drives the need for cow resilience

Resilience in dairy cows – feed for adaptability

Season’s Greetings from the Anco Team

2020 has been a highly dynamic year, where learning at great speed was of the essence. We are all ending the year with more skills than we had before and greater appreciation of all the technologies that helped us stay connected globally, while staying safe at home.

The need for agility reached a whole new level and much better understanding amongst everybody. It has been a difficult year, but hopefully we can also look back at it as a period of great progress in adopting new technologies that at the end bring us all much closer together and more connected than we were at the start of the year.

From everyone at Anco, we’d like to say thank you for your continued loyalty and faith in us. Put your feet up and have a well-deserved rest this Christmas. We wish you a prosperous and happy New Year.

Keep healthy and agile in 2021

Farm diversification – diversifying for farm resilience

Farm diversification can be a great way to add another stream of farm-based income and increase farm resilience. But how do you go about it, find the right idea and courage to pull it off successfully?

Farm diversification featuring in new Keep Agile Keep Farming podcast episodes 

Do you think you have a crazy idea to diversify your farm? In a special of the Keep Agile Keep Farming podcast with two episodes (episodes 3&4) on farm diversification we talk to Victoria Galligan the Editor of the Farm Diversity Magazine and Celia Gaze, Founder of The Wellbeing Farm, which is a farm diversification in Lancashire, United Kingdom that won multiple awards.

Two ladies who have seen and gone through a lot when it comes to farm diversification. We gain insights on trends and how farmers are adapting to current changes and opportunities.

Celia who has gone through the rollercoaster of farm diversification first-hand shares some important do’s and don’ts from her experience and how crazy ideas can change your life and a farm for the better. She is also the author of the book: “Why put a bow tie on a llama?” published in 2020.

Tune in to episode 3 and 4 of the Keep Agile Keep Farming podcast to gain some inspiration and practical advice to turn your idea for farm diversification into a thriving venture that increases your income profitably.

Definition of farm diversification

Farm diversification is most commonly defined as “the introduction of a non-traditional source of income into the pre-existing farm business”. Agricultural diversification includes the introduction of additional farming enterprises (eg. beef cattle, aquaculture or tomato growing). Non-agricultural diversification, involves incorporating non-farming activity into the farm business (eg. farm-based accommodation, on-farm processing of food, leasing land for non-agricultural purposes).

Why are farms diversifying?

Figures released at the beginning of 2020 revealed that more than half of England’s 57,000 farms have diversified.  A study carried out in the UK revealed that for six out of ten farming families increasing income was the most important reason for diversifying.

Similarly, a study carried out in the United States reported that 61% of farming families diversified for economic reasons, 23% for reasons external to the existing business and 16% for social reasons. Another driver was to increase the value of the farm for its transition to the next generation.

Many forms of diversified activity on the one hand have a far smoother or more steady income profile. On the other hand  they can offer an alternative market for existing agricultural products (e.g. on-farm shops).

In general farm diversification aims to spread risk and smooth cashflows, both of which add value to the farming business by improving and strengthening the economic viability of the business.

Barriers to farm diversification

Connectivity (digital) is still a key barrier in remoter rural areas. Perceived risks in the use of online tools and the costs associated with technology adoption are also barriers.

Innovation and technology adoption are key enablers behind farm diversification. Therefore, the capacity of farmers to capitalise on both farm diversification opportunities and grant-seeking activity may be supported or constrained by access to and skills to absorb and use new technologies. This again to some extent is also influenced by age and education of key decision makers on the farm.

Relevant links

The Farm diversity Magazine 

Book: Why put a bow tie on a llama?: How a crazy idea can change your life and transform your business, published in 2020 by Celia Gaze.   Buy book on amazon. 

The Wellbeing Farm 

Resilience in pigs – New benchmark to reach genetic potential

Studies have shown that pigs within a commercial grow-finish environment only achieve 70% of their growth potential compared to pigs reared in a less challenging and unrestricted research environment. Researchers have highlighted this 30% gap in pig performance as a key area for improvement using both management and genetic selection to reduce the impact of stressors on pigs reaching their genetic potential under commercial conditions. There are indications that improving the ability of pigs to cope with stressors may be a better way of improving pig performance than selecting only for increased growth potential from pig genetics researchers. Resilience in pigs has been described as the ability of pigs to cope and recover from stressors and is on the cusp of becoming a new benchmark in pig production.

Why resilience?

Average daily gain is a function of the pig’s production potential as well as the ability of the animal to cope with stressors and unforeseen challenges. Breeding and management strategies that result in more resilient pigs, will increase the capacity of pigs to reach their genetic potential under commercial conditions and improve production efficiency on farms in a sustainable way. Furthermore, it is expected that resilience research will benefit the health and welfare of pigs and reduce the use of antibiotics or treatments in general on pig farms. An economic value associated with improved resilience in pigs beyond reduction in production losses and health costs is a reduction in labour time and costs, as animals show less problems and become easier to manage.

The response of a pig to stressors in terms of minimizing the impact of a stressor and quickly recovering from it is defined as resilience. So, the capacity of the body to withstand challenges to its stability is considered as resilience.  There are many different types of stressors a pig can potentially encounter throughout its productive lifetime, which again can impact its performance. Quite often the first noticeable impact of stressors will be a reduction in feed intake in pigs. However, there are also reactions on the cellular and gut level of the pig, such as oxidative stress and inflammation in response to stressors, further reducing the available energy for growth, as those type of stress reactions will increase requirements for maintenance energy.

Ultimately the pig’s capacity to adapt efficiently will determine the extent of those stress reactions and the impact they will have on growth performance over time.  A meta-analysis study by Pastorelli et al (2012) across 122 published pig trials, studying the impact of selected stressors found under commercial conditions on reduction in average daily growth rate. The researchers also looked at how much of the reduction in growth rate was due to an increase in maintenance energy and how much was related to a reduction in feed intake.  According to this data some stressors, such as respiratory disease, lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and mycotoxins have a greater impact on feed intake than maintenance energy requirement. This might also be expected from heat stress. Whereas when it came to challenges associated with the gastrointestinal tract, a large part of the reduction in average daily gain was due to an increase in maintenance requirements. Other stressors which were not covered by this study are: human handling, vaccination, dust, ammonia or out of feed and water events, which can all also have an impact on performance of pigs to a greater or lesser extent.

Spotting resilience in pigs

Single time-point measurements have been said to be of limited value because they do not measure responses to and recovery from stressors. Although there are exceptions, such as productive longevity as it is a single measurement of the accumulated consequence of adaptive capacity and resilience. Otherwise repeated measurements over time have been found to be key to determine resilience in animals. This is where new technologies, such as automated monitoring, sensors and computer vision come into their own greatly facilitating the ability of producers to collect data from repeated individual measurements in pigs on farm. It is also making the recording of individual feed intake in group-housed pigs more accessible, which would otherwise be difficult to do on farms.

Recently several research groups have taken different approaches to measuring resilience in pigs, some using production data, some behavioural data and others are currently using artificial intelligence to monitor tail posture in pigs. But what they all have in common is, that they are looking at repeated observations to detect the number of fluctuations or deviations from an expected standard over time. Some suggest that the individual day-to-day variation in feed intake could be utilized to quantify resilience to heat stress, whereby pigs with more day-to-day variation in feed intake would indicate that pigs are less resilient.

Genetic researchers in the US confirmed that fluctuations in feed intake or duration at the feeder over time are indicators for resilience in pigs to a variety of stressors, including disease and can be used as heritable measures of general resilience in pigs. The variance of deviations in daily feed intake and deviations in daily duration at the feeder during the finishing phase were positively genetically correlated to mortality and number of treatments required in pigs. A pig welfare research group from the Netherlands are using the pig’s tail posture and intactness as the main indicator for resilience. The theory behind it being that more resilient pigs are less inclined to start tail biting and this is also related to tail posture – curly versus straight.

Managing for resilience in pigs

Geneticists have certainly started to pave the way to breed more resilient pigs by determining phenotypic parameters that are suitable as resilience indicators. Behavioural research is highlighting the opportunity to improve resilience in pigs through management practices, such as enriched housing. In piglets the location of sow feeders during lactation have been shown to matter in the piglet’s ability to adapt to the weaning process.

Nutritional solutions that help to build the adaptive capacity of the pig to stressors for more energy efficient responses could also play a role in managing resilience. For sure more research is underway to gain a better understanding of how nutrition and other management practices can effectively support pig resilience.

Closing remarks

The resilience approach requires us to make a shift in how we evaluate the impact of breeding and management strategies in pigs. While the proposed resilience indicators are not always easy to measure under commercial conditions using conventional practices, the development of new technologies helping farmers to monitor individual animals for precision livestock farming is certainly speeding up progress required to facilitate this.

This approach also highlights the need for adaptability to future events over optimization and improving efficiency under known conditions for pigs and farms. There is no time like the present Covid 19 crisis to remind us of the uncertainty and unpredictability in our lives and farming, bringing home the need for resilience.

 

Published in International Pig Topics, October 2020 by Gwendolyn Jones

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О спикерах:

Татьяна Чупина – директор по животноводству ООО «Вакинское Агро», в котором содержится 3300 голов дойного стада с общим поголовьем более 6000 голов. Татьяна имеет образование зоотехника и менеджера АПК, а также огромный практический опыт работы в молочном животноводстве, в организации систем воспроизводства стада, разработке рационов и всех процессах, связанных с функционированием хозяйства.

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