Fewer antibiotics in pig production with Progres®

Text and photos by Markku Pulkkinen

The Padaspekoni Oy piggery has had good experience with Hankkija's sow and piglet feeds containing Progres®. Piglet diarrhea and the need for antibiotics have decreased after Progres® feeds were introduced a year ago.

Energetic little piglets are crowding together at the sow’s udder. With 17 piglets in the litter, some have to wait a while for their turn. The atmosphere on the farm has become even livelier, as the piglets are healthier, more energetic, and grow faster thanks to the new feeds.

“The need for antibiotic treatments has been significantly reduced due to the use of lactation feeds containing Progres®. A year ago, we had to treat most of the litters. Now only a few litters are treated and diarrhea is almost completely gone. A lot of money and work will be saved,” says Anna-Mari Vallinen, the farm manager.

Tuula Honkamaa, Hankkija’s nutritionist, says that experiences have been similar with other sow farms. “Piglets from sows fed with lactation feeds containing Progres® have significantly less Clostridia-induced diarrhea. The beneficial effects of those feeds are due to the resin acids, which have been extracted from coniferous tree resin and added to the feed. Resin acids from Progres® protect the animals from bacteria, improve colostrum production in sows and raise the level of antibodies in the colostrum. Piglets grow faster and weaning weights increase,” explains Ms. Honkamaa.

Piglets require a lot of milk

The fertility of sows has improved significantly through modern breeding. At the beginning of the 2000s, the average litter size was less than 12 piglets, but by 2017 it was almost 17 piglets. However, sows’ capacity to produce colostrum has not increased proportionally.

“Piglets need a sufficient amount of colostrum soon after their birth, as vital antibodies from colostrum can be absorbed into their bloodstream only during the first 24 hours. If the amount of colostrum is less than a quarter of a liter, the piglet becomes susceptible to pathogens. The sow's ability to produce enough colostrum has to be the priority, and Progres® is a solution to this challenge,” emphasizes Ms. Honkamaa.

In Padaspekoni, piglets are helped to a good start by feeding the sows lactation feeds containing Progres®. Piglets, in turn, are also provided with Progres® in feeds, from prestarter feeds to nursery period feeds.

The beneficial effects of sow feeds containing Progres® have been proven by scientific studies. Three studies have found that Progres®, when fed to sows for seven days, increased colostrum yield, raised colostrum antibody levels by a fifth, modulated gut microbiota to a beneficial direction, and supported piglet growth during the first weeks.

At Hankkija, we first began using Progres® in poultry feeds, and now Progres® is also added to several sow and piglet feeds. Moreover, Honkamaa explains that Progres® has recently been included in dry pig feeds, so feeds with Progres® are now available for different kinds of pig farms.