The last few years have been a struggle for pork producers all over the country. Everything from closed processing plants at the beginning of the pandemic to increased transportation costs, supply-chain snags and labor expenses in 2021 forced hog farmers to repeatedly make tough choices. With all these extra burdens on hog farmers, every pig needs to achieve high ratings in meat quality.
What if the feed supplements provided to piglets during their post-weaning phase could help to boost their weight gains down the line? Here is what to know about the potential of improving the quality of pork meat by feeding pigs seaweed.
The post-weaning process can be stressful for piglets. Leaving the side of a nursing sow is a drastic shift in their lives and can result in decreased feed consumption, elevated instances of diarrhea, negligible weight gains and/or heightened mortality rates.
If there are stutters in growth during the post-weaning process, these piglets may never achieve the carcass quality of healthier and nourished pigs. With today’s operational expenses, the goal should be to avoid that at all costs.
In a study of dozens of post-weaning piglets, researchers evaluated the potency of brown seaweed on both the immune health and weight gains of the control group and test subjects. Piglets at 24 days of age were fed diets with either laminarin, fucoidan or a combination of the two to see how they compared to the usual basal diet. The results showed that, as well as reducing E. coli populations, these seaweed extract supplements increased daily gains and feed-to-gain ratios for post-weaning piglets.
Now that every pig can make or break the bottom line, producers need to ensure their feed supplements are providing their sounder what they need. The promising results of brown seaweed in hogs’ diets show that this increasingly should be considered as part of any producer’s regimen, whether they want to enhance swine health management or overcome the challenges facing modern farmers.