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Trouw Nutrition antibiotic reduction campaign

09 September 20224 min reading

Based on scientific studies and producers' success reducing antibiotics in their flocks and herds, Trouw Nutrition's “Small Switches. Big Change” programme aims to partner with producers to make responsible use of antibiotics easy and manageable.

(10 August, 2022 AMERSFOORT, the Netherlands) Trouw Nutrition, Nutreco's livestock feed business, is launching "Small Switches. Big Change" a comprehensive antibiotic reduction campaign tailored to the challenges of livestock stakeholders around the globe. Extensive investments in research and development as well as more than a decade of collaborating with commercial swine and poultry farms support the campaign's science-based approach to responsibly reducing antibiotic use in livestock production while improving animal health, performance and profitability..   

Tailored to each producer's challenges and performance objectives, the campaign's holistic approach focuses antibiotic reduction efforts on the most critical feed, farm and health concerns. This customised approach allows producers to determine the extent and pace of antibiotic reduction. "Producers have made it clear that they understand the need to reduce antibiotics in their operations, but they want practical guidance and trusted expertise to help them make the change in a way that protects their animals and their business," said Dr. Barbara Brutsaert, Global Project Lead Antibiotic Reduction at Trouw Nutrition..

Consisting of five steps – profile, assessment, advice, assist and evaluate – Trouw Nutrition's integrated antibiotic reduction programme facilitates a cycle of reduced antibiotic use. Each step is considered, implemented and evaluated hand in hand with the producer taking into account their specific situation. For example, examining the form and quality of feeds can inform recommendations to support animals in critical life stages like early life, and help maintain animal performance under different health challenges. Evaluating each farm's practices and objectives helps achieve nutritional supports tailored to the farm, such as young animal feed specialities, synergistic feed additives and health diet formulation services.. 

The programme draws on science-based nutritional strategies that Trouw Nutrition contributed to the 2021 FAO paper "Animal nutrition strategies and options to reduce the use of antimicrobials in animal production" and also reflects the variances that exist in different production environments."We understand that reducing antibiotics in livestock production can be a delicate process, as adjustments in one eco-system will affect other areas," said Brutsaert. "This integrated approach combines feed, farm and health management strategies to inform a comprehensive approach to reduce antibiotics effectively while supporting animal productivity and protecting the producer's economics."

Concerns about antimicrobial resistance have led producers, retailers and governments to introduce efforts aimed at curbing antibiotics in livestock production. Drawing on successful antibiotic reduction programmes, Trouw Nutrition's campaign focuses on increasing producers' awareness and offering guidance to reduce antibiotic use in flocks and herds effectively."Small Switches. Big Change" demonstrates how small changes introduced one step at a time can lead to big declines in antibiotic use.

Since the EU's ban on AGPs in 2006, antibiotic use has continued to decrease in the Netherlands, except for a slight increase in 2006 as producers learned how to produce livestock without antibiotics. Between  2009 and 2021 as multi-stakeholder initiatives were implemented, the Netherlands saw a 70.8%* decline in antibiotic sales (SDa, 2022*). Additionally, the multi-stakeholder strategy reduced resistance to antimicrobial classes among multiple strains of E. coli in both broilers and pigs (Maran, 2021).

Farms and integrators implementing Trouw Nutrition's holistic approach have reduced antibiotics while improving key production parameters. For example, looking at broiler production,  a broiler integrator in Spain achieved a 95% decrease in antibiotics in six years along with a 36% lower mortality. In 2021, depending on the brand, between 87% and 100% of its broiler production was produced without antibiotics . Similarly, a swine feed mill in Spain saw a decrease in year-over-year antibiotic use and by 2021 had reduced antibiotics by 86% compared to 2016. The farm continues to reduce antibiotics without sacrificing performance. Through the first three months of 2022, the swine mill saw a 56% reduction in antibiotics (kg API).

Based on scientific studies and producers' success reducing antibiotics in their flocks and herds, Trouw Nutrition's “Small Switches. Big Change” programme aims to partner with producers to make responsible use of antibiotics easy and manageable. Once reduction targets are achieved, the holistic approach is designed to help producers maintain their low or no antibiotic production operations. 


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