Will the swine industry be antibiotic-free by 2020? Maybe. Maybe not. According to Terry Coffey, Murphy-Brown LLC., we first must understand science and then balance that with consumer demand. Coffey said that ninety-eight percent of the time antibiotic growth promotants are used, it is to combat PRRS and the swine influenza virus. AGPs are only used about two percent of the time for improved weight gain and feed efficiencies.
“If we go antibiotic free, we are still faced with these diseases,” Coffey said. “We need to find technological advances to minimize gut challenges and these key drivers to using antibiotics.”
Other session speakers addressed alternatives such as breeding pigs for disease resistance, eliminating mycotoxins to enhance feed efficiency, updating biosecurity measures and housing management, practicing good stockmanship and coordinating the timing of vaccinations to improve immune response and not rely entirely on antibiotic growth promotants.