Progut® yeast hydrolysate addition in weaner diets has improved piglet performance

Juhani Vuorenmaa, R & D Director

The yeast hydrolysate product Progut® trains the immune system of young piglets and thus enhances their immune responses under challenge. It has also reduced the fecal shedding of hemolytic E. coli in piglets and reduced weaning diarrhea. These effects are clearly beneficial for the health and wellbeing of the piglets, but does it come at the expense of performance? It is often stated that immune stimulation requires energy, therefore impairing the growth and feed efficiency of the animals.

Improved growth and feed conversion ratio

In a trial at a private Research Farm in France the efficacy of Progut® on the post-weaning performance of piglets was compared to a negative and positive (Avilamycin) controls.

Trial design: Piglets were allocated to treatments based on sex and initial weight at weaning (D21). Each treatment was replicated by six pens, 8 piglets per pen. The number of male and female piglets per treatment was identical. In order to place animals in a sanitary situation as close as possible to field conditions, pens and watering system were not cleaned nor disinfected after the previous group. Faeces and dirt were only removed from floor, drinkers and feeders by sweeping. The negative control group received feed without antibiotics or feed additives (enzymes, acidifiers, probiotics). The other feeding treatments had the same basic formula than the control group but contained either Avilamycin  (40 ppm) or Progut® at 0.2 % during D21–D42 and 0.1 % during D42–D70. 

Results: The health status of the piglets was good and their average mortality during the trial was 0.8 % without any differences between the treatments. Addition of Progut® in the diet significantly improved the performance of weaned piglets compared to the negative control (table 1). Progut® increased the average daily gain (ADG) by 9 % and feed conversion ratio (FCR) by 5 points. The performance of the piglets in the positive control and Progut® groups was similar.

The growth improvement by Progut® addition in this study was rather similar as in a trial at the University of the Philippines, in which it increased the average daily gain of weaned piglets by 12,5% during a trial period of 30 days. 

Table 1. Piglet performance from D21 to D70

TreatmentADG, g/dayFCR kg/kg
Negative control410,5b1,65b
Positive control (Avilamycin)453,9a1,57a

 a, b values with different superscripts within columns differ statistically (p<0.05)

A trial at IRTA Research Institute in Spain investigated the effect of Progut® on the performance of weaned piglets in comparison with a positive control containing Colistin.

Trial design: 12 replicates of four piglets per pen were allocated into treatments at weaning (D28). The pre-starter feed (D0–D14) of the positive control contained 120 ppm of Colistin which was withdrawn from the starter feed (D15–D28). Progut® was added both in the pre-starter and starter feeds of the trial group.   

Results: The health status of the piglets was good during the trial and similar between the treatments. There were no statistically significant differences in the piglet performance between the treatments either during the pre-starter or starter phases (table 2). Unfortunately, there was no negative control in the study.

Table 2. Piglet performance in pre-starter and starter phases


Control (Colistin)



Weight at weaning, kg




Weight at D14, kg




ADG, g/d D0–D14




FCR, kg/kg D0–D14








Weight at start, kg




Weight at D28, kg




ADG, g/d D15–D28




FCR, kg/kg D15–D28





Together the data from these trials demonstrates the ability of Progut® to enhance the performance of weaned piglets. Although Progut® is known to train the immune system of young piglets helping them to cope better with the challenges, it’s combined with improved performance in commercial production conditions.