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“Assist” your pigs to better finisher performance

As the use of antibiotics undergoes closer scrutiny, producers continue to look for ways to improve pig health and performance. Yeast fermentation products that improve both the population of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and structural integrity of the gut have gained in popularity. As all-natural, economical feed additives, these yeast products also aid pigs during stress and intermittent feed intakes.

Copper sulfate at levels higher than required for normal growth has long been known for its growth promoting, antibacterial properties. However, the performance response seen in nurseries is not maintained through the finishing phases. Also, the dark, sticky stools associated with higher feeding levels are an unpleasant side effect. Almost no pigs in the US are fed higher copper sulfate levels today. New research on the use of tri-basic copper chloride makes feeding copper at growth promoting levels a more attractive option again. Compared to copper sulfate, the copper chloride molecule is more stable and less reactive with other nutrients in the feed and in the gut, resulting in targeted greater availability of copper for pig performance. Studies confirm the benefits of copper chloride (IBC) versus copper sulfate (SO4) on pig growth performance as shown in the graph below. Not only was performance maintained through the finisher, it actually increased with the use of copper chloride.

Hubbard Feeds combines the benefits of yeast products and copper chloride into Assist™, a new nutritional supplement designed to be used in finishing pigs from 50 lbs. until market. The concept behind the low level of yeast products with a long inclusion period is to positively impact gut micro flora over an extended period of time. Hemorrhagic Bowel Syndrome (HBS) most commonly occurs in pigs weighing between 150-230 lbs. of body weight. Through the help of Assist pigs should have a healthy, well-functioning digestive system to help reduce HBS deaths. In addition to bolstering the beneficial bacteria, the copper chloride component of Assist also promotes additional gain, without the use of antibiotics.

Industry wide pigs affected with HBS will have an estimated mortality rate of 0.5 to 7%. Jamie Pietig, swine nutritionist at Hubbard Feeds, has several customers with chronic HBS deaths that have used Assist in their finishing diets and experienced a reduction in death loss of 1%-2%, a decrease of more than half of the recurring HBS death loss seen in these herds.

Assist is used at the rate of 2 lbs. per complete ton of feed. At a cost of around $1.40 per pig, an additional 12 pounds of gain per pig will provide about 5:1 return on investment from the gain alone, plus additional gut health and HBS benefits from the yeast product. Using Assist is a valuable strategy heading into the summer months to help maintain and improve weight gain in hot weather.

Stop by the Hubbard Feeds booth (VIB 419) at the World Pork Expo and learn more about Assist.