Long-term effect of feeding spray-dried plasma during the nursery stage on subsequent performance and health status to market weight
The benefits of feeding spray dried plasma (SDP) during the post-weaning period are well known (1). However, there are limited studies about the long-term impact of feeding SDP to nursery pigs on subsequent performance and health status of grow-finish (GF) pigs (2). This study aimed to determine the effects of various quantities of SDP provided during the nursery phase on subsequent performance and health of GF pigs to market weight.
Materials and Methods
300 PIC pigs weaned at 22 days of age and 5.81 ± 0.04 kg BW were allotted to 5 treatments in separate sex pens (12 pens/treatment; 5 pigs/pen). Treatments represented the inclusion of different SDP levels used in 4 nursery feed phases (pre-starter I and II, d22-29 and d29-36; starter I and II, d36-43 and d43-64 of age). Treatments by respective nursery phases and level of SDP in the diet were:
T1) Control without SDP
T2) 3, 2, 0 and 0% SDP
T3) 5, 3, 1 and 0% SDP
T4) 7, 5, 3 and 0% SDP
T5) 7, 5, 3 and 1.5% SDP
respectively representing 0, 86, 165, 311 and 600 g of SDP consumed/pig. Thereafter, the nursery pen was maintained and moved to the GF facility where the pigs were fed common diets by phase to market weight. Performance data were evaluated per phase and the index of pneumonia (IP) was obtained at slaughter. Regression analysis using the covariance of initial BW was done considering the effects of sex, block, wean batch, and the average cumulative grams of SDP consumed per pig. Non-normal pneumonia index data was compared by Kruskal-Wallis's test.
Total wean to finish culling + mortality was (4.7%) and did not differ among treatment groups. Table 1 shows that SDP increased (P<0.05) ADG and FBW and tended (P = 0.08) to increase ADFI in a positive cubic response to SDP intake per pig while in the nursery. These subsequent positive effects of SDP intake linearly increased (P < 0.05) ADFI of pigs during the grow-finish phase and tended (P = 0.08) to increase ADFI over the entire nursery to finish period. Increasing level of SDP fed during the nursery numerically and linearly increased (P=0.13) final BW at slaughter with a maximum increase of FBW for pigs fed 311 g SDP during the nursery.
Table 1: Pigs provided plasma in nursery feed had higher final body weight at slaughter.
Remarkedly, all SDP treatments provided during the nursery phase reduced the index of pneumonia lesions in lungs of pigs at slaughter weight compared to the control treatment group (Table 2). The reduced IP index is in agreement with other research indicating reduced severity of respiratory diseases in pigs and other species fed diets with SDP (3). This potential modulation of immunity from feeding SDP could be linked to the better GF performance and reduced pneumonia score at slaughter.
Table 2: Pigs provided plasma in nursery feed had reduced lung lesion scores at slaughter.
There are few studies evaluating the effects of SDP fed in the nursery and its impact on subsequent phases of production. However, our results agree with others (2) that verified challenged pigs fed SDP during the nursery phase had improved immune response, survival, growth performance, and carcass traits of GF pigs
In conclusion, feeding SDP to nursery pigs demonstrated extensive benefits through the GF phase by improving performance and health of pigs at market weight.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Caio Silva, Londrina University, Paraná, Brazil; Marco Callegari, Cleandro Pazinato, Kelly Souza, AKEI Animal Research, São Paulo, Brazil; Joe Crenshaw, Joy Campbell, Luis Rangel, APC, LLC., Ankeny, IA, USA