April 7, 2014 (from Pork Network)

The U.S. swine industry is under attack from a very aggressive enemy, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv). The toll PEDv is placing on the industry and specifically young piglets is astounding. It is proving to be very costly in the form of mortality, reduced production, and ultimately fewer pigs to market.

While lots of discussion has taken place in hopes of curtailing the spread and devastating effects of PEDv there are some specific management practices that are helping, for instance tightening biosecurity protocols, limiting traffic onto the farm and disinfecting trucks and housing.

When it comes to new sow farm outbreaks the most effective practice seems to be immediate weaning of any pigs capable of transitioning to dry feed. In most cases this is pigs 8 days of age and older. However, piglets weaned this early have basic nutrient and behavioral challenges that must be overcome… including the maintenance of appropriate nutrient levels during this transition.

We know that for a piglet to make the transition from milk to dry feed isn’t a seamless event and can frequently lead to lower nutrient intake while the piglet adjusts. Under typical circumstances this adjustment period is tenuous enough, but when overlaid with a PEDv challenge, this transition event is critical – and maintaining proper nutrition in a form the piglets won’t reject is crucial.

This is where nutrient dense liquids are proving to be very effective.

What is a nutrient dense liquid?

Nutrient Dense Liquids (NDLs) are a new class of nutrition that hyper-boosts the nutrient value in liquid feed sources. Unlike dry products that are mixed with water to create a stock solution (typically 20% nutrients) to be administered via a medicator, NDLs are the stock solution (65-70% nutrients). This provides a situation where the medicator can deliver more than 3X the nutrients to the pigs via the drinking water. This product class is especially effective for a young or challenged animal that is either not yet accustomed to dry feed, has backed off feed consumption or is just making a diet transition.

Animals in these circumstances are typically able to drink or favor high-moisture food sources. The problem is, these animals won’t consume at the volume they would if healthy. This is where a nutrient dense liquid becomes the perfect application and nutrient source. Given the reduce consumption it’s critical that as many nutrients as possible are available for the pig for the amount they do consume.

At the same time providing those nutrients in a form that favors their status is important as well. TechMix is the leading manufacturer of nutrient dense liquids, producing both Liquitein and Blue 2 – two products that can be used independently or in tandem with PEDv challenges. Swine operations are successfully using these products based on age, weight and level of health of the pig.

How to use nutrient dense liquids

The physiology of a transitional or challenged animal creates a desire for a fluid source, and nutrient dense liquids provide a versatile option for delivering the required nutrients because they are can be conveniently fed through the medicator or mixed into a gruel feed.

The key is to get these nutrients into the animal in order to help maintain gut integrity and some level of nutritional intake – again, as much nutrient intake as possible for the amount of feed and fluid (regardless of form) consumed. The result can be fewer animals that fall behind and have no chance of recovery.

Each operation will have their own scenarios for use but nutrient dense liquids provide a new class of nutrient intervention that that can help transitional or PEDv challenged pigs acquire the nutrients needed for health and performance – in a form they’ll accept.