INTERVIEW: Nuscience's Flexible Approach to the Global Piglet Feeding Challenge
During the recent EuroTier exhibition in Hannover, Germany, Nuscience, officially launched a new young animal nutrition program for piglets: Babi®, which is aimed at addressing the challenges posed by genetic evolution and modern rearing strategies.
Providing farmers with more choice in pre-starter feeds, the Babi® program consists of 3 piglet feeding lines: Babi® Delicious, for the highest feed intake; Babi® Dynamic, for cost-effective growth performance; and Babi® Robust, for a healthy start. The program also contains Nuscience’s flagship product, Babito®.
Feedinfo News Service turned to Wouter Naeyaert (Product Manager Pigs at Nuscience) to find out more about the concept and what market prospects Nuscience sees for its young animal nutrition range.
[Feedinfo News Service] Mr. Naeyaert, what are the main challenges in piglet weaning? How crucial a role do pre-starter feeds play?
[Wouter Naeyaert] In nature piglets are gradually weaned around an age of 10-15 weeks. Under practical conditions this weaning is done abruptly at 3-4 weeks of age. This gives us piglets that are not used to solid feed and which are physiologically not adapted to digest feed. Next to this, due to the genetic progress, we have more and more piglets, but also more vulnerable piglets. And in the future we will have to rear these piglets with less and less antibiotics. Furthermore farmers and feed mills need to maintain economical profit in a very competitive market. This can only be done with excellent young animal nutrition, which minimizes the negative effects of the weaning process on piglets and unlocks the genetic potential of the animals.
A smart pre-starter feeding strategy teaches piglets how to eat, supports the health of the piglets, stimulates their intestinal development and provides them with extra nutrients when sow milk is limited. A good pre-starter feed is essential to unlock the complete genetic potential of piglets.
[Feedinfo News Service] Which reasons spurred Nuscience to develop the Babi nutrition program?
[Wouter Naeyaert] At Nuscience we continuously invest in developing new strategies and concepts enabling our customers to cope with these challenges. The Babi® nutrition program is one of these new developments. The philosophy of Nuscience has always been to provide solutions much more than just products. Worldwide the challenges in piglet production are pretty much the same: stimulating feed intake, supporting piglet health, reducing antibiotic use, and cost efficient growth are everywhere top of mind of today’s modern feed mills and farmers.
The solutions to these issues however vary according to region, due to differences in genetics, weaning ages, climate, housing, and rearing systems. With the worldwide input from academic research institutes, research trials, people from different layers of our company, multiple field trials, and the important input from compound feed producers and farmers, we were able to translate these differences into different products and feeding strategies from our Babi® program.
The Babi® nutrition program consists of three Babi® feeding lines focusing on feed intake (Babi® Delicious), efficient growth (Babi® Dynamic) and health (Babi® Robust). These three ranges are implemented worldwide, with local market-specific solutions and feeding schedules based on the proven Nuscience concepts.
The goal of the Babi® program is to help feed mills translate specific farm situations in the most optimal feeding schedule for each farm. With the Babi® program, we offer solutions for the subtle, but important differences in modern production systems: different genetics, different weaning weights, differences in health statuses, automated liquid feeding, etc.
[Feedinfo News Service] Has the Babi® program replaced Nuscience's Porcito range?
[Wouter Naeyaert] Our Porcito® range was mainly a Western-European product range. As Nuscience grew exponentially and became an international player, we needed a worldwide approach. With Babi®, we aim to create an internationally-known brand for high quality pre-starter diets. A fast exchange of knowledge and experience between our different affiliates is one of our key values.
[Feedinfo News Service] In which Nuscience factories are the products of the Babi® program manufactured? Are you planning to increase production capacity?
[Wouter Naeyaert] Products of the Babi® program are manufactured in 9 of our production plants all over the world. These plants are really focused on producing high quality diets for young animals. To produce high quality piglet diets, specialized equipment and a constant focus on raw material quality is important. In recent years we built new plants in Belgium, China and Ukraine, and made considerable investments in other production plants. All these plants are also equipped with good laboratories to monitor all our incoming raw materials.
[Feedinfo News Service] What are the differences between the 3 piglet feeding lines: Babi® Delicious, Babi® Dynamic, and Babi® Robust?
[Wouter Naeyaert] The Babi® program is comprised of three sub-ranges. These sub-ranges stand for the major challenges in piglet production systems. Babi® Delicious focusses on improving the number of eaters for piglets weaned at a young age, light piglets, and piglets with a low voluntary feed intake. Babi® Dynamic focusses on assuring an excellent and cost-efficient start on farms with good sanitary status. Babi® Robust is a feeding line that looks to improve the health of animals under non-medicated conditions. With these three ranges we can assure cost-efficient performances on farms in different environments.
[Feedinfo News Service] Babito® is one of Nuscience's flagship products. How will this product further benefit from being under the Babi® program?
[Wouter Naeyaert] Pig farmers and compound feed producers all over the world know the brand name Babito® as the most tasteful and highest quality creep feed. Thanks to the raw material choice and the product structure, Babito® is the best solution in the market to learn piglets to ingest and digest solid feed. With the Babi® program, also Babito® was further improved, to accelerate intestinal maturation of piglets. Research done together with Universities resulted in the discovery of components that increase the development of intestinal villi and a beneficial microbiota before weaning. This results in improved growth performances and health after weaning thanks to Babito®. Next to this, with the Babi® program, we’re also introducing products which provide a smooth connection between Babito® and the diets at later ages. In this way the beneficial effects of Babito® are fully leveraged in the later ages.
[Feedinfo News Service] What are your expectations for your most recent product innovation, Babistar® Safe?
[Wouter Naeyaert] Babistar® Safe, a safe prestarter feed to reduce antibiotic use, is welcomed with big enthusiasm in the market. Promoting piglet health around weaning and reducing antibiotic use is a big issue in a lot of countries. And in the countries where it is not, it will become a big issue in the future. With the exogenous defense shield in Babistar® Safe, piglet health is stimulated, without penalizing the performance results. This is exactly what customers all over the world are looking for. We pay specific attention to the huge effect of endotoxins in newly weaned piglets and how to prevent these negative effects. In Babistar® Safe, endogenous receptors are shielded, so that mycotoxins cannot bind on these and activate the immune system.
[Feedinfo News Service] The challenges faced by piglets vary according to geography. In which markets is the Babi® nutrition program currently enjoying the most success?
[Wouter Naeyaert] Especially in countries where piglets are weaned at young ages and where antibiotic use is under pressure, people are aware of the importance of a good young animal nutrition. In all these countries Nuscience is known as a trustful supplier of high quality products. These last years the young animal division of Nuscience has grown steadily at a rate of 15-20%. We have grown in important pig markets like China, Latin America, Spain, and Germany where we are very successful with our young animal nutrition program.
[Feedinfo News Service] What are Nuscience's commercial and strategic objectives for the Babi® nutrition program and Babi® product sales in the next few years?
[Wouter Naeyaert] We keep focusing on our young animal nutrition programs, research-wise, production-wise and sales-wise. Good animal nutrition will become more and more important in the future, both to reduce antibiotic use and to maintain economical profit for farmers in a competitive market. With dedicated research programs, we keep looking for answers to the challenges our industry faces today and will face in 2020. With this focus, we want to keep growing in our key markets in the coming years. Also in parts of the world where we had a lower presence we want to become a well-known supplier of high-quality piglet diets.
Source: Feedinfo News Service